Do you ever wonder why medical tourism is suddenly the new black and stealing the spotlight from cultural tourism? Medical tourism is booming, and people from all over the world have started traveling overseas for medical care in another country.
Around 8 million patients each year in fact!
Of those 8 million people who travel for medical treatment, 700,000 alone travel to Turkey; an industry that earned the country a whopping $1.5 billion in 2018.
Turkey is a popular destination among tourists generally, and many European and American-trained doctors have taken up residence here, which appeals to medical tourists from these regions.
It has the most American-accredited hospitals of any other country, and with affordable healthcare, it is estimated that 32% of Turkey’s patients are medical tourists.
So, if you’re thinking of traveling for medical, what are the benefits of specifically choosing Turkey?
Benefits of Medical Tourism in Turkey
What is Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is a sector of tourism where patients travel abroad to seek medical help at lower prices and contradicting quality.
Much of the time it comes down to procedures being substantially cheaper overseas, or not being able to find the right treatment at home. And traveling to another country for treatment often means being able to avoid long waiting lists for elective procedures.
Some medical tourists are immigrants who return to their home country for care, and others travel simply so they can avoid questions from family and friends (having the people of Thailand see the bandages from your nose job isn’t quite as bad as walking down the street at home).
While a great portion of patients seeking professional help do it for health issues, the vast majority actually jump on the hype of medical tourism for affordable cosmetic surgery, given that these procedures are rarely ever covered by health insurance in Western countries.
Medical in Turkey is Affordable
The primary reason to embark on a medical tourism trip is that it’s cheaper than getting the same care in your own country. And the fact is that a lot of surgeries are up 90 percent cheaper in Turkey.
Cosmetic surgery procedures are around 70% cheaper in Turkey compared to the rest of Europe, but without compromising on quality. Laser surgery in particular is quite affordable here, costing approximately $1,100 for both eyes.
To further the examples, the cost of angiography is $47,000 in the U.S., $13,000 in Singapore, $11,000 in India and $10,000 in Thailand, while $5,000 in Turkey. Similarly, the cardiac valve surgery is $150,000 in the U.S. and $17,000 in Turkey.
Because of this match of affordability and high quality care, Turkey is one of the world’s top destinations for international medical tourism, and the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council expects that the industry will increase five times by 2023.
67% of those who travel to Turkey for medical treatment pay for private hospitals, which says something to how affordable the country’s healthcare is. And this has become such a big industry that Turkish Airlines even offers discounted flight rates to medical travellers.
Even with all your travel expenses, the cost of medical care in Turkey still comes out cheaper than surgery in most western countries, and hospitals like as the Vera Clinic, even offer medical tourism packages which makes everything even cheaper.
Service packages usually include a personal interpreter, airport pickup, a private driver, and a pre-booked 3 night stay at a 5-star hotel located in one of Istanbul’s finest areas.
State of the Art Hospitals & Surgeons
Medical in Turkey might be cheap, but you’re not sacrificing on quality. The Turkish government has employed a private-public-partnership (PPP) model to upgrade the country’s healthcare infrastructure and launch state-of-the-art ‘City Hospitals.’
Private hospitals, too, have invested heavily in their Turkish facilities now that medical tourism is on the rise, implementing special services designed to cater especially to foreign patients.
Turkey has very appealing immigration policies for professional expats, and many European and American-trained doctors have taken up residence here, which means you’re getting highly skilled care.
It has the most American-accredited hospitals of any other country, and that’s a big reason why travelers from over 114 different countries travel here for medical surgery (Turkey is a strong hub that can serve a large geographic scope).
Many hospitals have partnerships with top American hospitals such as Harvard Medical Center and Johns Hopkins and are staffed with many highly skilled, English speaking, and western trained doctors.
Image: Focus Clinic (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr
No Wait Lists
You might wait two weeks for a procedure that would take 18 months to schedule in western countries.
A Central Hub
Turkey is one of the world’s most central hubs, and it’s geographic position is definitely one of the reasons that medical tourism has so taken off; it’s highly accessible, and very much a central crossroad.
Turkey has always been known as the gateway between the East and the West; Istanbul is a city where two continents literally collide, and throughout history it has been one of the world’s most major cultural, political, and commercial centers.
With the recent expansion of Istanbul Airport (now one of the largest in the world), travelers from over 50 countries can get to Turkey within a short four-hour flight time. Once their expansions are finished, Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) will fly directly to over 300 destinations worldwide.
It’s easy to reach from the Americas, from Europe, and from Asia, and when compared to other popular medical tourism destinations like Mexico, Malaysia, and India, Turkey is the most central for most of the world.
Wide Range of Treatments
Many medical tourism destinations are known for specific surgeries; for instance, Thailand has earned a strong reputation as a leader in the field of gender reassignment, India is known for high-difficulty surgeries, and Brazil is all about the cheap plastic surgery.
But Turkey is quite well rounded in terms of offering a wide range of quality surgeries across all medical sectors. People travel for low cost IVF, cancer treatment, cardiac surgery, and orthopedic surgery. They travel for dental treatments, for hair transplants, and eye treatments.
Turkey is also one of the leaders in the world when it comes to rehabilitation centers for smokers. Some 39.5 percent men and 12.4 percent women smoke in Turkey, according to World Health Organization.
And it also has a booming spa / wellness industry, where people travel for treatment with mental health.
Recovering Among a Unique Culture
Combining your surgery with an excuse for a holiday is one of the biggest perks of medical tourism, and Turkey is a fabulous choice of destination for your recovery.
Previously the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey expanded its perimeters to include the parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. With such diverse cultures and ethnicities under one authority, the forced mingling added the element of polar diversity.
Turkey is an exquisite blend of Arab, Oriental, and European culture and history, and the result is exquisite architecture and monuments like the church turned mosque Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar (both on the European side of Istanbul).
Quite close to Hagia Sophia you will find the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more commonly referred to by travellers as the Blue Mosque. The architecture of the structure is truly incredible with its minarets, domes, 20,000 handmade İznik style ceramic tiles, and stained glass windows.
Turkey is an exotic and adventurous country for a vacation, and recovering here is every medical tourists dream. Well, it is at least for 700,000 of them … and counting!
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