- Turkey's tourist attractions have witnessed a remarkable recovery in recent weeks, as the country crossed the thresholds of critical stages in dealing with the Corona pandemic, removed many travel and gathering measures, and opened recreational, historical and natural facilities to visitors.

The tourism movement associated with international events and activities has returned to all Turkish states, especially Istanbul, at a time when medical centers and hospitals have returned to practice their activities in inviting patients and those wishing for treatment to visit the country.

It is expected that the Turkish government’s decision issued in mid-October to facilitate the conditions for obtaining a medical visa by easing its requirements for those wishing to come to the country for the purposes of medical tourism will contribute to expanding the activity of this sector and compensating for the losses incurred during the months of closure due to the Corona epidemic.

The medical tourism sector represents one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Turkey, as it recorded a growth of 25% in the last five years to reach a value of 3 billion dollars in 2019 before the spread of the pandemic, while experts expect it to be at the forefront of the various sectors in terms of the growth rate in the next five years.

Turkish Health Minister Yavuz Selim Qiran said - in press statements - that his country is seeking to benefit from the rapid global growth of the global medical tourism sector, which multiple statistics indicate that its average size is approximately 439 billion dollars, as the number of travelers from all over the world is in the search for Treatment About 50 million tourists annually, each of whom spends between 3 thousand and 6 thousand dollars on an average year.

Diyarbakirli believes that the Turkish government has intensified its incentive programs to urge tourism companies to increase work in this sector (Al-Jazeera)

stimulus measures

Experts in medical tourism in Turkey say that this activity was initially limited to some cosmetic operations such as hair transplantation, but the government focused its efforts on it with the development of medicine in the country, so the volume of visits increased from 75,000 visitors in 2007 to 700,000 medical visits in 2017. , while the government plans to raise its annual revenues to 10 billion dollars.

Khaled Diyarbakirli, owner and director of the "Avem" tourism company in Istanbul, explained that this focus is reflected in a set of measures;

Such as the allocation of the hospital in Ataturk Airport for medical tourism after the end of the Corona pandemic, and the organization and follow-up of the centers that were working in this field.

He added that the Turkish government intensified its incentive programs to urge tourism companies to increase work in this sector, and this led to a high assessment of Turkey's position and reputation in medical tourism, as a number of world-famous centers and doctors emerged.

Diarbekli told Al Jazeera Net that there are multiple factors that encourage visitors to come to Turkey for treatment, including its presence mainly on the world tourism map, which encourages patients to visit it to rest during the treatment trip.

Diyarbakirli explains that the medical visa facilities will provide the opportunity to visit many visitors with nationalities whose holders were difficult to enter Turkey, and this will open a new market in the areas of shopping and tourism to natural and historical sites, especially that the facilities include some escorts.

The Turkish businessman said that medical tourism is an important sector for tourism companies, because the client needs many services provided by tourism companies, such as the nomination of the medical center, hospitals or doctors, translation services, transportation, accommodation, escorts, tourist trips and other activities that can be undertaken by tourism companies, Which greatly maximizes the benefits of these companies, especially when it comes to major operations such as liver transplantation, which may last two months.

Dr. Aydin Arslan evaluates the level of treatment quality in Turkey at more than 85-90% (Al-Jazeera)

Caution is a must

At a time when indicators speak of great positive repercussions of the visa facilitation decision on the medical tourism sector, Dr. Aydin Arslan - owner and director of the (AA) Medical Center in Bakirkoy district in Istanbul - calls on patients coming to Turkey not to be lenient in identifying treatment destinations.

According to Dr. Arslan, the medical visa was previously issued only with a report approved by the hospital or the treating doctor submitted by the patient to the embassies to issue the visa, which was subject to verification of the reliability of the center or the doctor on the invitation and its approval by the Turkish Ministry of Health and his possession of the necessary licenses for treatment.

The Turkish doctor explained to Al-Jazeera Net that under the new facilities, patients may attend, based on treatment visas, to medical centers that are not specified in advance, and this may cause some of them to be directed to unaccredited commercial centers or do not have an international medical tourism certificate issued by the Ministry of Health for qualified centers and hospitals. .

He pointed out that the wrong choice of the patient means depriving him of inclusion in the records of the Turkish Ministry of Health, and this will deprive him of the ability to follow up on the consequences of treatment failure, and medical errors that may occur, as he does not have evidence and does not have a name listed in the Turkish health system.

Dr. Aydin Arslan evaluates the quality of treatment in Turkey at more than 85-90%, saying that his country has turned into a center of attraction for skilled doctors who come from other countries to work in Turkey, such as Russian, German, Syrian and other doctors.

It also indicates the role of low costs in attracting those wishing to medical tourism to Turkey alone, whether with regard to the costs involved in the treatment itself or on accommodation during the treatment period, compared to other developed countries, especially in America and Europe.

Dr. Arslan explains that plastic surgery of all kinds is currently ranked first in the ranking of destinations for tourists who want treatment, followed by stomach cutting and slimming operations, then nose operations, then hair transplantation, and then pathological treatments such as heart, bone and others.