Around 130,000 people visit Turkey every year to receive healthcare, and Turkey is well on its way to becoming an important health tourism destination. Another 250,000 visit the country for thermal tourism, as well as rehabilitation services and services for the elderly. Burgeoning tourism sectors include retirement homes and communities, and health tourism has grown substantially over the past nine years due to the improvement in services offered in Turkey.
According to the President of the Health Tourism Board, Dr Dursun Aydin, health tourism should not just be regarded as being a medical treatment service, as the thermal spas and rehabilitation services are equally as important. Aydin is keen to point out that around 20% of the population in developed countries is over the age of 65, and this figure is only set to increase in the coming years.
This means Turkey has the capacity to expand the sector in the future. At the moment Turkey only receives around $1 billion annually in health tourism from abroad, while the global tourism industry is worth $100 billion annually, and its office seeking to exploit the natural resources available in the country.
Preparations are already being made to expand the sector, and many patients are travelling to Turkey to receive dental treatment, as dental services are an important part of Turkey's health tourism industry. Most European governments have imposed strict limits on dental payments, and most will not cover specialist treatment such as implant surgery. As a result more people are choosing to visit Turkey, especially as they can combine essential dental or healthcare treatment with a holiday.