With the rapid growth our world is seeing today, countries have been racing to develop their selves equally with the rapid and successive developments, which led to the emergence of many new sectors, notably, international medical tourism.
Medical tourism is defined, one can say that it is the journey a person take for the diagnosis and treatment, where the patient who can’t find the right treatment, or can’t afford it, or even his country lacks the necessary technologies and medical expertise. All these reasons pushed a lot of people to the idea of medical tourism in another countries, providing what they missed in their home country.
Looking into the medical tourism sector in Turkey, this country was able and since 1990, to walk rapidly into the international medical field, which made Turkey a big competitor in its medical and tourism services against European and Western countries. Since 1990 the private sector has started a big investment campaign in the private tourism sector, and these investments had a big impact on the built of distinguished hospitals in different aspects, starting from their professional staff to their modern medical equipment.
The development of private hospitals in Turkey, made the investors of this sector to move into the international market, and the central location of Turkey between Asia, Europe and Africa, has drawn a lot of attention to it, in parallel with the radical political changes, made it much easier for foreigners to come here, some even without the need for a visa.
And through the experience Turkey has over the past years in medical tourism field, Turkey is trying to learn from the previous mistakes the tourism had been through, like the language barrier, and the direct connection with the tourist. The past generation didn’t know any other language, while today, most doctors in this field speak other languages, like English, Arabic or German. And when there is no direct communication, there is always the specialized translators, providing their services and ensuring there is no miscommunication, thus leading to a better diagnosis and treatment. These institutions aim to provide the utmost comfort, making the patient feel at home, with their hospitality and assistance.
Turkey is now witnessing a rise in the number of people coming for treatment, according to the Union of Travel Agencies in Turkey, this number of patients has increased five times in the last 5 years, reaching 583.000 patients, making the total revenue of medical tourism more than 2.5 billion dollars, the reason is mainly because Turkey is considered much cheaper than Europe by 60%.
And as a result, the medical tourism sector has become one of the most important fields in the agenda for Turkey’s development project by the year 2023.
It is expected that Turkey’s revenue in this field to reach 9 billion and 350 million US dollars by the year 2018, and to achieve so, the preparations are continuous, in terms of attracting new patients and improving the infrastructure in the hospitals, which is why the Turkish ministry of health has allocated in 2014 a budget of 2 million Turkish liras, to increase the demand on the medical tourism field and make it a wide competitor to its peers in the region.