Health tourism industry eyes larger share in global market

Türkiye's health tourism industry aims to increase its share in the world's $100 billion market from the current 4 percent to 10 percent, says Servet Terziler, the president of the Turkish Health Tourism Association.

The industry had started to recover fast from the fallout of COVID-19, but the February earthquakes were a blow to the sector.

Reservations were canceled, hotels in Istanbul were empty and the health tourism revenues declined to around $1.4 billion in the first half of 2023, according to Terziler.

"We are hoping to generate at least $2.6 billion in revenues in the rest of the year and close the year with a total revenue of $4 billion," Terziler said, adding that the export revenues target for 2025 is set at $10 billion.

The size of the global health tourism sector has reached $100 billion, while Türkiye's share in this market is around 4 percent, he noted. "We are making investments in order to increase our share in the global market to 10 percent."

The number of health tourists visiting Türkiye was around 300,000 people 10 years ago, but it reached 1.26 million in 2022, Terziler noted. "This number continues to grow in 2023 with visitors rising 24 percent in the first half to 746,290."

Foreign visitors' health spending also increased by around 9 percent in the January-June period to exceed $1 billion, according to Terziler.

"Some 70 percent of visitors are from Europe, while people from the Arab countries account for 30 percent. The U.S. and Canadian markets are growing. We even have patients from Australia."

Istanbul, which attracts most of the health tourists, has the potential to become the center of global health tourism, Terziler said. "Antalya and İzmir are also on their way to becoming...

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