Turkey’s reputation as a health tourism destination is growing, with over 260,000 people a year travelling to the country’s Mediterranean areas for medical procedures each year.
Claudia Eckhoff* travelled from Germany to Antalya in 2012 for a rhinoplasty procedure. The veterinarian said she had always been “self conscious” about her nose and chanced on an online review of a clinic in Antalya.
“I did tonnes of research and was very nervous but after I got in touch with the clinic I knew I was doing the right thing.”
The clinic asked Claudia to send some digital photos for an initial evaluation. “He told me that I needed to send them some digital photos to let the surgeon have initial evaluation. “Two days later I had a reply with a short report from the surgeon saying that I was a good candidate for the surgery, and if I wanted to go ahead I would need to ensure I booked to stay and rest locally for at least four days after the surgery.”
Claudia said the online photos of the hospital, the surgeon’s report and the customer service were extremely reassuring. “The prospect of going to another country where I’d never visited to have surgery was nerve-wracking but the contact did help.”
Two hours after she stepped off the plane, Claudia met with her surgeon at his Antalya clinic for a consultation and checked into a private hospital the next day for surgery.
“Everything went much better than I assumed it would. My surgeon was very skilled and well qualified and the patient care was very good. The private hospital where I had the operation had full facilities and advanced medical care units.”
Claudia stayed in Antalya for the requisite four days and then toured the coastline for another week, staying in a Kemer holiday home.
“I am really happy with the results and my confidence is at a high. I think this kind of health tourism will increase in Turkey because prices are so low and there are some very good clinics.”
Claudia advises potential health tourists to “do lots of research”.
“Find as many reviews as you can, talk to the surgeon, ask for his or her qualifications and check them out. I may sound paranoid but you cannot be too careful - the procedures are not to be taken lightly.”
The number of health tourists travelling to Turkey has quadrupled since 2010, when visitors hit the 110,000 mark, and the Secretary General of Turkey’s Health Tourism Association estimates that 2023 will see 2 million annual medical tourists.
2011 statistics show that patients from Germany, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Iraq top the list of healthcare visitors to Turkey.