Health Tourism Sector in Turkey


The biggest reason why health tourism in Turkey by most people is that the treatment costs are more budget-friendly than in the country they are in. In many countries, the cost of health care and treatment is more than the cost of going abroad and getting care there.

As a result of good research, it is possible to get economical and appropriate medical treatment from the health tourism agency you can reach or from the health institutions in Turkey.

If you are getting referral services from a health tourism agency, it may be easier to find the best treatment from a high standard, a “full-fledged” health institution with the best team of doctors and health professionals.

Health Tourism Marketing is a concept that covers the services offered not only before and after the treatment process but also what comes after in terms of tourism and follow-ups.

Health tourism is about planning and keeping track of all the steps, like how the patient will rate the time before treatment, the time during treatment, the time after treatment, and the time left after treatment. 

Medical agencies are preferred not only for the patients who will undergo treatment or surgery but also for the companions who will stay with them, considering the tourist trip planning. 

Tourism after the treatment provides psychological support for faster patient recovery. Turkey is among the first countries to be chosen by the citizens of many countries in the field of health tourism, as it has both European standards and recent health investments, as well as both private and public hospitals. 

The important thing here is not only the health standards but also the fact that the cultural, natural beauties and climate and the great opportunity for a holiday are preferred by the patients and their relatives coming from abroad.

In many countries, some treatments are not covered by health insurance because they are defined as beauty and luxury. Since the costs of such treatments are not budget-friendly, they are among the reasons why Turkey is preferred. 

Many countries want to make a name for themselves in the field of health tourism, taking into account their economic growth. That’s why health institutions and global tourism companies are doing important work in this field. 

Health Tourism in Turkey: Infrastructure and Market Entry

Some of the patients who came from abroad to benefit from health tourism in Turkey had problems entering the country. Patients were allowed to enter the country without planning their entry and exit from the country or identifying the problems related to meeting the patients.

However, the dissatisfaction of the patients started to occur, which was quite negative in terms of health tourism indicators.

Thanks to the wide spectrum of health tourism, it is a very advantageous sector for the country and the field of health. What is important here is the demographic information of the citizens in the country where the right message is to be conveyed. 

The target audience is determined in the light of this information, and qualified campaigns to reach the target audience are very important for organizations that want to leave a mark in the sector. 

Identifying the needs and deficiencies of the sector and making improvements in this direction support the visibility of health institutions. 

If we consider health tourism in terms of Turkey; 

In many applications in the aesthetic surgery service, Turkey is at the top compared to many European countries. If you are a healthcare provider or an intermediary company in Turkey, health tourism brings many advantages for you. 

All you have to do is determine the right strategy. The points you need to pay attention to in order to choose your organization are as follows;

  • It is necessary to determine the health services that Turkey is the most successful in and provide more appropriately compared to other countries, and focus on these areas.
  • You must effectively convey the advantages of the service you have determined to your target audience.
  • You should clearly and effectively explain the services provided to patients, from their entry into the country to the process of boarding the plane for their return.

Turkey’s multiculturalism, nature, climate characteristics, and historical structure are very effective for tourism. With the improvements and developments made in the field of tourism over time, Turkey is in serious competition. Turkey has a say in the field of tourism because it has qualified workers and experts in the field of tourism. It also has thermal resources and knows how to use them correctly. 

In general, in order to enter the health tourism sector and be successful, SWOT analyzes of both the country and the health institution or intermediary institutions need to be done. With this analysis; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and threats are evaluated. With these analyzes, if we look at both the sector and the country within the framework of this analysis, we can gather some important elements in general.

Strengths: Turkey and the Health Tourism Sector

  • It is a very advantageous situation for tourism and health tourism not only during the pandemic period but also during many epidemics that have spread to the world and caused serious losses. 
  • Turkey’s geographical location also paves the way for its strengthening in the field of health tourism. Turkey’s location between the Middle East, Asia, and Europe facilitate the transportation of patients from different countries. 
  • In terms of tourism, natural beauties, holiday locations, and cultural diversity are very valuable features in terms of health tourism.
  • The fact that the doctors working in the hospital have a good command of English and other languages ​​is considered an advantage. At the same time, the fact that foreign doctors are also working attracts the attention of patients coming from abroad.
  • Thanks to the health investments made by the Republic of Turkey, faster and more efficient progress in the sector is also an important advantage.  

Weaknesses: Turkey and the Health Tourism Sector

  • While developments continue in the field of the health sector, some studies are delayed because different ministries work in different fields instead of working together.
  • It is one of the mistakes made in this area that the demographic information of the patients benefiting from health tourism or the service they receive is not collected and followed on a system. 
  • Lack of cooperation between health institutions and the Ministry of Health is among the weaknesses. 
  • The “terror” issues on Turkey’s agenda and Turkey’s political stance may create a disadvantage in terms of health tourism. 

Opportunities: Turkey and the Health Tourism Sector

  • Immigrants from Turkey living abroad, especially in European countries, may want to be examined by doctors serving in Turkey instead of being treated by the doctors they are with.
  • It is easy to reach the service prices of other countries in terms of being able to compete on price.
  • The average age in American and European countries is high. Therefore, there are problems in the health systems of these countries. Expensive Health Insurance in these countries also does not cover the treatment of every disease. Being in Turkey for treatment is an advantage as it costs a more affordable budget. 

Threats: Turkey and the Health Tourism Sector

  • There are many viruses and epidemic diseases in the world. Although it is considered an advantage to see some of these viruses and diseases in Turkey, there is a risk of transmission in patients who come to Turkey for treatment.
  • Patients coming to the country from abroad are treated with foreign currency. Incoming patients pay fast and high fees, so it may be secondary to solving the needs of local patients. 
  • Doctors working in public hospitals in Turkey prefer to work in private hospitals in order to earn more. This causes local patients receiving services in public hospitals to receive lower quality services. 

Successful Campaign Process in the Health Tourism Sector in Turkey

Target Market Selection

The most important concept in health tourism is “strategy”. Determining the strategy target market and planning the developments for the target market is the biggest step toward success in the field of health tourism. To be successful in the field of health tourism, you should pay attention to the following steps. 

  • It is necessary to determine the health services provided in Turkey. While providing treatment service, accommodation, transportation follow-up and patients should be helped at the same time after medical intervention. 
  • The best treatment services provided by health institutions should be determined. Potential patients should be guided accordingly. Orientation should be made according to age, education level, and economic situation. 
  • After determining the target audience to be served, it is necessary to analyze which communication methods this target audience prefers. For this, it is necessary to follow the data that countries publish every year. You can shape the campaigns to be made according to this data. 
  • Countries, where campaigns are planned, may not use the same communication tools in every season or period. Taking this into account, you can create digital marketing campaign strategies. 
  • It is necessary to plan the promotional budget well. Efficient and long-lasting campaigns can be organized with a well-planned campaign budget. In this direction, which campaign types and areas where the campaign will be displayed can be determined. Using the right and efficient budget is important for the campaign process to be good. 

Campaign Strategy

Heading should be done before creating a campaign in health tourism so that the process can be guided more easily. Before the brand/service is introduced to the determined market area, it is necessary to determine the capacity of the service to be provided. 

It is necessary to explain how good the health infrastructure of Turkey is and it is necessary to organize future campaigns more specifically. If a campaign is to be prepared on behalf of only one health institution, the best service provided by the health institution to have campaigned and the services that it wants to provide but are not in demand should be highlighted.

When the patient who will receive the service comes to the health institution, the services to be provided by the health institution will increase in line with the patient’s demands and needs. In addition to the medical services provided, the free services offered to the patients move the healthcare organizations higher against their competitors.

According to research, patients coming from abroad want to get information and service from the most reliable sources in the country they will go to. For this reason, social media and websites, which are the showcase of a health institution, come into play. In these areas, the use of health institutions, the comments of patients who have received service before, and the photos of happiness give more confidence to potential patients who will receive service and increases the probability of choosing the health institution. 

In the field of health tourism, foreign tourism habits should be taken into account while the health organization’s campaign is being carried out. Compared to many countries, Turkey receives clearer returns in the field of health tourism. 

While different medical services are at the forefront in many different countries, more than one service comes to mind while visiting in Turkey. 

  • Dental treatments
  • Hair Transplantation, 
  • Eye Treatments, 
  • Psychological counseling, 
  • Thermal therapies, 
  • Cancer therapy

It gains the trust of overseas patients with its technological infrastructure and qualified doctors in treating diseases such as In addition to the doctor and hospital facilities at European standards, its cultural richness is attractive to foreign patients coming to Turkey. 

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Ufuk Yalvaç
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