Turkey needs to revamp health tourism

by BETÜL ÇAL ,  ANTALYA - Hürriyet Daily news | 2009-10-25

Turkey has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the health tourism industry, according to experts. The country has a lot of potential, they say; however, it has not been able to effectively harness it. The country needs to develop a central management system for the health industry and focus on better promoting its assets
COST: Due to the high price of health services in Europe, governments are in search of new ways to give their citizens the highest-quality service possible at a reasonable cost. DHA photo

Health tourism is beginning to play a major role in many countries' economies, but Turkey is still lagging behind in reaping the rewards of its health tourism potential.

The heath tourism industry has a global volume of $100 billion; in Turkey, however, revenues remain at $500 million.

Despite having many advantages over its competitors in the industry, including unparalleled natural beauty, high-quality tourism facilities, thermal baths and experienced medical staff, Turkey still lags behind many countries, Dr. Dursun Aydın, chairman of Health Tourism Development Association, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Aydın added that Turkey is home to more than 200 private hospitals, most of which are luxurious and equipped with the latest technology. The country also has at least 10 university hospitals. With the number of its globally accredited hospitals, Turkey ranks second only to the United States, Aydın said.

Turkey could offer much more than it does today in this industry, said Dr. Uğur Baran, chairman of the Health Committee at the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, adding that if Turkey realizes its full potential, it could earn up to $10 billion from the industry annually.