IIHTA head says 700,000 came to Turkey

Emre Ali Kodan, head of Istanbul International Health Tourism Association, has said 700,000 people visited Turkey as medical tourists in 2017. He doesn’t give a data source for his claim. IMTJ estimates the actual inbound number to be significantly lower than this.

Emre Ali Kodan, head of Istanbul International Health Tourism Association (ISTUSAD), recently told Anadolu Agency that medical tourism has become a booming sector in Turkey with 700,000 people visiting the country last year.

“Many people come to Turkey due to the cost, quality, waiting period and facilities [in the healthcare sector,” says Emre. In 2008, Turkey hosted 75,000 visitors for medical tourism. The figure has increased tenfold in 10 years, he noted. “We expect 850,000 visitors for medical tourism in 2018, [the figure] may approach a million.”

“The cost of angiography is US$47,000 in the US, US$13,000 in Singapore, US$11,000 in India and US$10,000 in Thailand, while US$5,000 in Turkey,” Kodan said.

Similarly, the cardiac valve surgery is US$150,000 in the US and US$17,000 in Turkey, he added.

He highlighted that in Turkey patients’ waiting time was a maximum of two weeks excluding transplantation, but this process could reach 18 months in western countries.

Visitors come to Turkey mostly from Europe, Russia, Turkic Republics and Gulf countries, and they usually choose Istanbul, Mediteranean resort city Antalya and the capital Ankara, Kodan said.

Turkey is preferred often for casualties, eye diseases, gynaecological diseases, maternity, paediatric and internal diseases departments by visitors, he underlined.

Ahmet Demircan, former health minister of Turkey, has said the country will host two million visitors for health tourism and earn $20 billion by 2023.

Published figures for Turkey are often inaccurate, and occasionally unreliable. The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), banks, the Turkish Statistical Institute, the health and tourism ministries and private hospital figures frequently offer completely different figures on medical tourism in Turkey. Turkey also regularly releases alleged numbers of medical tourists, but their definition of medical tourist includes health, wellness and medical tourism.

View the IMTJ country report for a realistic assessment of medical tourism in Turkey.