- Turkey has seen a 70 percent increase in the number of visitors compared to before the pandemic
- In 2022, the country welcomed 1.2 million medical tourists
Turkey is about to overtake France as the second most popular European holiday destination after Spain – partly because of its booming but ‘dangerous’ medical tourism industry.
The country, which straddles Europe and Asia, has seen a remarkable 70 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic, with 44.6 million tourists visiting in 2022.
According to figures from the tourism organizations WTM and Tourism Economics, this number will reach 50 million visitors in 2023.
Turkey has long been popular for its beautiful beaches, but medical tourism is believed to be a ‘small but important’ reason behind the recent growth in visitor numbers.
In 2022, the country welcomed 1.2 million medical tourists and in the first half of 2023 this number already reached 746,290.
Turkey has seen a remarkable 70 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic, with 44.6 million tourists heading there in 2022 (file photo)
Hair transplantation and cosmetic dentistry top the treatment list in Turkey, followed by laser vision correction and weight loss surgery (Stock Image)
Hair transplantation and cosmetic dentistry top the treatment list in the country, followed by laser vision correction and weight loss surgery.
According to the Turkish Dental Association, up to 250,000 foreign patients come to the country every year for cosmetic dentistry.
Many seek the procedure known as ‘turkey teeth’, which is increasingly concerned by British dentists.
Dr. Maurice Johannes from the Harley Street Smile Clinic in London said: ‘They have crowns fitted, where the tooth is filed down to the stump. Nerves are damaged and corrective treatment is often required.’
Istanbul, which attracted more than 1.7 million visitors in August alone, is a particularly popular destination for men seeking a hair transplant.
A surgery offered there, known as follicular unit extraction, involves removing hairs and their follicles from the back of the head before replanting them in bald or thinning areas. Patients receive only local anesthesia.
According to ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents), Turkey is becoming increasingly popular among British tourists and is now the eighth most visited destination.
The Foreign Office said it was aware of “more than 25 British nationals who have died in Turkey as a result of medical procedures since January 2019” and warned of botulism outbreaks linked to weight-loss treatments carried out in Istanbul and Izmir in February executed.