The coronavirus process has affected health tourism as well as all sectors. While there was a decrease in the number of tourists, there was a decrease in revenues.
The health tourism sector, which reached a volume of $3 billion in 2019, experienced great losses in the first half of 2020. However, as of the second half of 2020, it started to compensate for its losses from coronavirus. The President of the Turkish Health Tourism Association (TUSATDER), Specialist Dr. Servet Terziler, made evaluations regarding the sector, where mobility has increased a little more in 2021.
Terziler shared the following information about the sector’s first-quarter performance: “Normally, when we look at the data in 2019, it is known that the number of people coming to hair transplantation in a year is around 700-750 thousand. If we consider this figure on a quarterly basis, it corresponds to approximately 180 thousand people. When we look at the performance in the first three months, we have to say that hair transplantation has decreased by 50%. Roughly, Turkey hosted 125 thousand patients in the first quarter of this year in terms of hair transplantation, eye, dental and general health tourism. Despite this decline caused by COVID, in the last 1 year, we saw that brave people came to Turkey for plastic surgery and hair transplantation by transferring to different countries even if the countries were closed. It would be appropriate to say that we have achieved only 50% of the 2019 figures in the first quarter of this year.”
THE EUROPEAN DID NOT STOP
Stating that health tourists who prefer Turkey for treatment come mainly from European countries, Terziler said, “Our patients from countries such as Holland, France, Germany and Belgium continued to come. Apart from Europe, the Asian Region also saw that Turkey competed in the top league in health tourism. In this context, we also had guests from India in the first quarter. North of Europe, Russia and Turkic Republics prefer our country for health tourism and treatment. On the other hand, as we all know, health tourists prefer hair transplantation the most in our country. It would not be wrong to say, secondly, aesthetic operations and thirdly, dental treatments. Then, I can say that we are preferred for eye, medical aesthetic applications and general health services, respectively.”
‘WE WILL BE THE LEADING COUNTRY’
Underlining that Turkey will be the leading country in the world in terms of health investments, Servet Terziler said, “Health tourism in Turkey is expected to take a serious leap forward. Especially when we look at the momentum that started in 2014, we are at a good point in health tourism. We observe that normalization will increase rapidly after May 17 and we will be in a very good place at the point of normalization as of June 1. For this reason, I believe that a hopeful trend will emerge in terms of closing the gap in health tourism as of June. It is not even sincere that we will make up for our losses in the first quarter in the second half of the year.”
Source: Hurriyet / Translated by Irem Yildiz