- Turkey has seen a 70 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic.
- In 2022, the country will receive 1.2 million medical tourists
Turkey is poised to overtake France as the second most popular European holiday destination after Spain, partly due to its booming but “dangerous” medical tourism industry.
The country, which straddles Europe and Asia, has seen a notable 70 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic, with 44.6 million tourists set to travel there in 2022.
This figure is expected to reach 50 million visitors in 2023, according to figures from tourism bodies WTM and Tourism Economics.
Turkey has long been popular for its stunning beaches, but medical tourism is believed to be a “small, but significant” reason behind the recent growth in visitor numbers.
In 2022, the country received 1.2 million medical tourists and 746,290 already went there in the first half of 2023.
Turkey has seen a notable 70 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic, with 44.6 million tourists traveling there in 2022 (File photo)
Hair transplant and cosmetic dentistry top the list of treatments in Turkey, followed by laser eye correction and weight loss surgery (File Image)
Hair transplant and cosmetic dentistry top the list of treatments in the country, followed by laser eye correction and weight loss surgery.
According to the Turkish Dental Association, up to 250,000 foreign patients come to the country each year for cosmetic dentistry treatments.
Many are seeking the procedure known as “turkey teeth”, which is of increasing concern to British dentists.
Dr Maurice Johannes, from the Harley Street Smile Clinic in London, said: “They get crowns fitted, which involves filing the tooth down to a stump.” The nerves are damaged and corrective treatment is often necessary.’
Istanbul, which welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors in August alone, is a particularly popular destination for men seeking hair transplants.
In the surgery offered there, known as follicular unit extraction, hairs and their follicles are lifted from the back of the head before being replanted into bare or thinned areas. Patients receive only a local anesthetic.
According to ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents), Turkey is increasingly popular with British tourists and is currently the eighth most visited destination.
The Foreign Office says it is aware of “more than 25 British citizens who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical procedures” and warned of botulism outbreaks linked to weight loss treatments carried out in Istanbul and Izmir in February.