Turkey targets Gulf states but faces stiff competition from European, Gulf and Asian countries with established links in the region. Turkey has devised a strategic plan to promote the country as health and medical tourism destination for Gulf countries
With medical tourism flows under threat from the political situation in existing source markets, Turkey is aiming to increase its business from Gulf states. But it faces stiff competition from European, Gulf and Asian countries that have established links in the region.
Turkey is in the early stages of persuading individuals and governments in the region to send patients to Turkey. With some countries including Jordan and Dubai also promoting inbound tourism, and governments such as Qatar not yet accepting Turkey as a country it can send state paid patients too, it faces an uphill task.
Turkey has devised a strategic plan to promote the country as health and medical tourism destination for Gulf countries. This is mostly by attending local and international events.
The Turkish Ministry of Health is targeting Qataris, who usually seek spa and wellness facilities in Thailand. For medical tourism, where Qatar sends citizens abroad, the Health Tourism Business Council is in talks with the Qatar health authorities to get Turkey included in Hamad Medical Corporation’s list of approved countries.
While the government is still pushing out ambitious targets for medical tourism, some of the organisations promoting Turkey warn that success is not easy and that ongoing security problems in Turkey and nearby countries must not be ignored.
Meri İstiroti of the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council warns, “Turkey’s appeal in medical tourism, both regionally and on a global scale, will continue so long as the country is not associated with security problems. It must also invest in the infrastructure.”