Turkey attracted nearly 1 million people for health tourism in 2018, said an ‘industry official’ according to the Daily Sabah. No named source of the data was given. The article said that there were 700,000 medical tourists to Turkey in 2017, according to the Istanbul International Health Tourism Association (ISTUSAD); and stated that Health Minister Fahrettin Koca recently said that Turkey’s revenue in health tourism had reached US$1.5 billion.
The article defines health tourism as encompassing a wide range of treatments, from medical tourism (such as treatment and surgery in hospitals), thermal tourism (services such as rehabilitation and rest in thermal facilities), elderly and disabled tourism (long-term stays with social activities in geriatric treatment centers). It also claims Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that their aim is to increase health tourism revenue five times by 2030.
Health and medical tourism data for Turkey should be treated with caution. Different official health and tourism agencies in Turkey often publish conflicting data. Earlier this month for example the Daily Sabah published data from TurkStat which claimed that 551,748 tourists visited Turkey for health-oriented services in 2018, an increase of 27.3% compared to 2017. This article quoted the Ankara Health Tourism Association Chairman saying that by 2023, the country was aiming for a US$20 billion share in the world health tourism market.
For an objective analysis of the medical travel sector in Turkey, see the IMTJ Country Profile.