Turkish Airlines has launched a program to hold weekly “medical tours” from the U.S. that will cost $5,000, Trend reports citing Hurriyet Daily News.
Türkiye is bidding to become a major destination in global medical tourism. The local medical tourism industry generated more than $1 billion in revenues in 2021.
As part of efforts to lure U.S citizens into the country, deals have already been signed with a number of private hospitals in Istanbul.
American visitors, who arrive in the city, have their medical tests at the hospitals there and then they will be offered treatment if necessary.
“Health service costs are very high in the U.S. It also takes time to have tests and people have to wait for months for tests. We can offer quick solutions with the weekly tours,” said Ahmet Bolat, chairman of Turkish Airlines’ board and executive committee, noting that tours will last one week and cost $5,000.
Patients from the U.S. prefer Türkiye because treatment expenses are around 35 to 60 percent cheaper in Türkiye than in their country, the Health Tourism Department of the Health Services General Directorate said in a recent report.
Last month the flag carrier signed an agreement with the Services Exporters’ Association (HİB) to help the local medical tourism sector meet its export service revenue target of $5 billion in 2023.
Under the agreement signed on Aug. 18, the flag carrier will cooperate with more than 700 member companies of the HİB operating in the health care services industry.
In the first quarter of 2022, nearly 290,000 people arrived in Türkiye to receive health services, and revenues from medical tourism amounted to $332 million in the January-March period, according to data from the International Health Services Inc. (USHAŞ).
The number of medical tourists visiting the country rose to more than 302,000 people, with revenues from medical tourism increasing to $436 million in the second quarter of this year.
The most preferred clinical branches by international patients are gynecology, internal diseases, ophthalmology, medical biochemistry, general surgery, dentistry, orthopedics and traumatology, infectious diseases and otorhinolaryngology, according to USHAŞ.