Health care tourism ex­pected to gen­er­ate $10 bil­lion in next 5 years

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Business -

TURKEY has achieved sig­nif­i­cant mo­men­tum in health care tourism over the last decade, of­fer­ing a wide ar­ray of ser­vices and gen­er­at­ing rev­enues. Health Min­is­ter Fahret­tin Koca, re­fer­ring to the im­prove­ment in the sec­tor, stressed that health care tourism has an im­por­tant place in Turkey’s health strate­gies and that sig­nif­i­cant stud­ies have been con­ducted in this re­gard. “Our in­come in health tourism has not reached $1.5 bil­lion a year. We aim to fur­ther in­crease our health rev­enues by demon­strat­ing our ca­pac­ity com­pletely. I be­lieve we will reach $10 bil­lion in rev­enue over the next five years through our stud­ies,” he said.

Stat­ing that Azer­bai­jan, Iraq, Ge­or­gia, Ger­many and Rus­sia pre­fer Turkey for health tourism, Koca noted that health tourists are coming not only from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, but also from dis­tant re­gions with higher in­come lev­els.

Koca said that the cur­rent pic­ture has been achieved through the in­di­vid­ual ef­forts of cer­tain pri­vate hos­pi­tals, while pub­lic sup­port has re­mained lim­ited. In­di­cat­ing that city hos­pi­tals, in par­tic­u­lar, will bring a big break­through in this re­gard, Koca said: “We want to make health tourism a state pol­icy. We should de­velop var­i­ous in­cen­tive mod­els that will mo­ti­vate our pub­lic and pri­vate health sec­tor, and we should in­tro­duce this po­ten­tial to the world. For this, we need both the pro­mo­tion and stan­dard­iza­tion of our in­sti­tu­tions.” Koca added that a struc­ture to do this, the In­ter­na­tional Health Ser­vices Joint Stock Com­pany (USHAŞ), has been estab­lished to guar­an­tee for­eign pa­tients and fa­cil­i­tate health tourism. Koca said that the com­pany, whose in­sti­tu­tional struc­tur­ing is in progress, would act as an in­ter­me­di­ary for in­ter­na­tional health ser­vices, adding: “In short, our health sec­tor will be pro­moted by the state. Un­der the cau­tion and guar­an­tee of the state, health tourism will reach the de­sired level.”

Mean­while, rev­enues from health care tourism over the last five years reached $4.4 bil­lion, while 1.8 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited the coun­try for health pur­poses in the 20132017 pe­riod. Data re­leased by the Turkish Sta­tis­ti­cal In­sti­tute (TurkS­tat) shows that 433,292 peo­ple came to Turkey last year for health care tourism, a 62 per­cent in­crease com­pared to 2013 when the coun­try wel­comed 267,461 vis­i­tors for health­care tourism.

In the first half of the year, 274,062 tourists vis­ited Turkey for med­i­cal pur­poses, ac­cord­ing to TurkS­tat data.

More­over, rev­enues from health care tourism sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased over the last five years. Last year, Turkey gen­er­ated $1 bil­lion in health­care tourism com­pared to $747.6 mil­lion in 2013. Health care tourism rev­enues were $590.1 mil­lion in the first half of the year.

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