Turkey is well-established in the health tourism industry and on target for a twenty billion dollar share in the world health tourism market by 2023 according to Ankara Health Tourism Association (ASTUD).

In the last ten years, the number of medical tourists in the world exceeded ten million, with a turnover of over $ 100 billion annually.

Health tourism isn’t new. Since ancient Greek times, patients have travelled to seek treatment for their illnesses. Health tourism differs from local treatment in that it involves travel to a different city or country from one’s place of residence for treatment.

In Turkey, there is no waiting list.
Hospitals and health-care institutions are in compliance with international standards and provide state of the art technologies and medical equipments.

What Kind of Health Services Does Turkey Offer?

Turkey offers a variety of medical treatment services: eye diseases, orthopedics and traumatology, internal medicine, ear, nose and throat, gynecology, general surgery, oral and maxillofacial diseases, drains and nerve surgery, skin and venereal diseases, child health and disease. The leading aesthetic procedures in Turkey: hair transplants, plastic surgery and dental.

The diversity of Turkey’s health service continues to create a point of attraction for foreigners and international retirees.

Within a radius of 4 hours’ flight, Turkey has the possibility to provide heatlh care services for 1.5 billion people. Turkish Airlines, flying to the highest number of destinations in the world, subsidizes part of every health tourist’s flight between 200USD-1000USD, as part of government policy.

Why Turkey is the Preferred Choice for Health Tourism?

The geographical and strategic location of Turkey, the quality of registered services, the climate, the fact that it has 1.5 billion people on 3 different continents and a flight distance of 4 hours makes it the shining star of health tourism in the world.

Such specifications have an important role in the formation of ideas for tourists who visit the country temporarily, as well as for people who want to spend the rest of their lives in another country after retirement.

Patients choose Turkey primarily due to the quality-to-price ratio. Medical treatment and operations costs in Turkey are better suited than many European countries and other western developed countries. For example, IVF treatment in the US is around $ 15,000-16,000, while in Turkey it is $ 2600; medical operations such as laser myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism varies between € 4000 and 8000 in European countries, while in Turkey it is about € 600; while open-heart surgery is € 25,000 the average in European countries, this price level is about $ 10.000 hospitals in Turkey.

Due to the high prices in Europe and other western developed countries in health services, retirees who have health problems are preferred Turkey for continuing their lives. This situation leads to international retirement migration.

Both people who want to spend their retirement in Turkey and foreigners who want to get health care mostly prefer Istanbul, where health services are developing, and Antalya, which offers touristic opportunities.

Of course, compared to the European countries that make Turkey more attractive to health tourism and international retirement it is not the only reason that low wages. Turkey offers world-class treatment at very competitive prices.

For health tourism, the institutions need to be accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI). There are about 45 accredited health institutions/hospitals in Turkey and ranked second in the world. Most of these accredited organizations are in Istanbul. Istanbul is the first place in Turkey in both accredited hospitals and diversity of health

  • World-class quality services

  • Modern cutting-edge medical technologies

  • Qualified & Skilfull Health-care professionals

  • Quality services

  • Short standby time

  • Diverse tourism activities to complement medical treatment

  • Government incentives and bilateral agreements to support health-care tourism as a government policy

  • Regional hubs of foreign insurance & assistance companies and factories of international pharmaceuticals

  • Very competitive pricing

  • Number of accredited health institutions


Health-Care Professionals and Institutions in compliance with International Standards

Turkey’s Health Tourism: Visitors by Country

Health tourism in Turkey attracts visitors from more than 130 countries including USA, Germany, UK, Russia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Libya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Macedonia.

Table 1 Visitors for health or medical reasons to Turkey (2012-2019)

Years Total Health or medical reasons (less than a year) Foreigner Health or medical reasons (less than a year) Citizen (Resident abroad) Health or medical reasons (less than a year)
2012 216.229 153.520 62.709
2013 267.461 188.295 79.166
2014 414.658 328.647 86.011
2015 360.180 260.339 99.841
2016 377.384 251.809 125.574
2017 433.292 326.709 106.583
2018 551.748 437.925 113.822
2019 (First 3 Quarter) 493.464 413.274 80.189

Foreigners and abroad citizens are preferring Turkey more and more for health or medical reasons. The number of visitors coming to Turkey has doubled since 2012.

Countries such as Spain, Italy, and Portugal are traditional places where retirees emigrate. After the 2000s, shows that Turkey has begun to take place between these countries. Thus, another type of health tourism might be called “international retirement” is going out to face the day as a thriving area in Turkey.