Medical tourism to Turkey from Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arabi Emirates (UAE) significantly increased since the beginning of 2018 as Turkey’s international reputation as a high-quality medical services provider to global patients rises.
Over the years Turkey has established a reputation and developed the necessary infrastructure required to become a global player in the healthcare services industry. The country’s close cultural and religious ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have therefore made Turkey especially interesting for Arabic-speaking patients.
Moreover, concerning cost efficiency, Turkey provides better quality treatment when compared to its European and American counterparts, with some surgeries costing 90% less than in other countries.
With favorable exchange rates for dollar-backed currencies such as those in the GCC, medical tourism hit all-time highs in August this year, especially from the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
“We expect over 850,000 international medical patients to arrive in Turkey by the end of 2018 and expect that number to increase again to reach over 1 million patients by the end of 2019,” said Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information from Turkey to the UAE.
“Google searches from GCC users looking for hospitals, clinics and hotels showed very positive growth in the summer period, especially around Eid Al Adha, which shows that patients were also looking to combine their medical and tourism activities.”
Medical and healthcare tourists were mostly admitted to ophthalmology, gynecology and obstetrics clinics and most preferred private practice hospitals. Patients from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, and Lebanon, have a great interest in hair transplantation and eye surgery and treatments, such as Lasik surgery and lens replacements, which are very popular in Istanbul and Kusadasi.
Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya have been revealed to be the top destinations within Turkey for medial tourists.