Posted on 22 October 2009
Turkey’s national airline is to offer a 25% discount to people who are flying into the country to receive medical treatment. This is likely to be a massive boost to Turkey’s medical tourism industry.
Medical tourism is currently the fastest growing sector in the travel and tourism industry. The name comes from people in developed countries like Britain and the US, travelling to developing nations with good healthcare facilities for huge savings on cosmetic surgery, which is massively expensive in their own countries. However, the name also applies to wealthy people in countries with poor medical services for essential treatments.
Obviously medical tourists play the balancing act; trying to find a country where they can get the surgery or treatment done at a good price, but also get the best treatment in the best medical facilities they can afford.
Turkey has some of the finest medical facilities in the world, including 32 medical centres accredited by Joint Commission International, or JCI. Turkey is also 70-95% cheaper than the United States for medical procedures.
The problem is that none of this is well known: Britain’s tend to favour the US for treatment, or ex British colonies like India and Malaysia where the medical model is based on the NHS. Americans favour Latin American countries with first rate healthcare, like Costa Rica, which disbanded its military in the 80’s and put the money into improving the education and health sectors.
The Turkish government, with the help of the national airline is undoubtedly trying to increase exposure of its world class medical facilities to the US and UK medical tourism markets. The 25% discount on flights will increase Turkey’s ability to compete with some of the cheaper destinations like India.