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Turkey popular for medical tourism, new figures show

Turkey has emerged as one of the world’s top destinations for medical tourism, according to figures

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Turkey has emerged as a popular destination for medical tourism, according to newly released figures by the World Tourism Organization.

According to a report, out of the roughly 35 million tourists who visited Turkey last year, around 188,095 came for surgical procedures from liposuction, to hair transplants, to cancer and orthopedic treatments.

The number of medical tourists who visited Turkey in the first six months of 2014 totaled 162,445 with revenues reaching $328 million, according to Ankara-based news outlet Anadolu Agency which cited the report.

“Currently, over 1,000 patients travel to Turkey every year to take advantage of the medical services we offer,” said Fatih Öztürk, the project manager of VisitandCare.com, a patient and doctor matching service which helps visitors from the Middle East and Europe, in comments to the agency.

“They are mostly from western Europe; countries like the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as from Libya and the UAE,” he added.

Shedding light on the appeal of Turkey, Öztürk said: “People from countries with heavily congested health systems welcome the opportunity to choose the time of their surgeries together with the 40-70 percent savings, which is more affordable than European countries. While those from less-developed nations are attracted by Western-trained medics and new facilities sprouting up as Turkey’s private healthcare industry flourishes. Additionally, the fact that Turkey is a central tourist attraction is also enticing.”

Turkey’s health ministry released a statement on the country’s apparent advantages for health tourism in 2012, saying “both for meeting the changing domestic needs as well as taking advantage of health tourism, private hospitals and health centers have been established all over the country.

“The country has made significant improvements and has begun to compete with countries such as India, Malaysia, Thailand and Hungary which are strong in the sector,” the report reads.

Income from all forms of tourism in Turkey increased 7.9 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared to the same quarter of last year, to reach $9 billion, the Turkish Statistical Institute showed, according to the Anadolu Agency.