The situation is similar today. People all over the world travel to different countries for both therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. Moreover, health tourism is now much easier with today's travel opportunities, advanced communication opportunities, and rich accommodation options. In addition, health tourism has now become not only a necessity but also a matter of choice. Currently, people resort to many methods, not only for the treatment of existing diseases but also for a longer and higher quality of life.
Health tourism is not just a question of demand today. Many countries are investing in this field because of the economic benefits of health tourism. Because of the profitability rates and positive side benefits in this field, many countries are trying to get on the radar of patients from abroad, and are focusing on offering packages that combine tourist travel and health care.
As a result, in this article, we will attempt to convey the history of health tourism in Turkey as well as the present situation.
What is Health Tourism?
Before digging deeper into the history of health tourism, it's important to understand how the term is described. The use of health and tourism opportunities is described as; in order to maintain health safety, health development, and treatment of diseases, traveling from one location to another and stay at least 24 hours in the designated location. Another concept of health tourism is the treatment and enhancement of a person's physical and mental health in a location other than their residence.
What are the types of Health Tourism?
Health tourism is divided into different types within itself. The first is medical tourism, and this type is the most common in the world. Medical tourism can often be defined as travel from high-income countries to low-or middle-income countries to get cheaper health care services. Simply put, it means that people travel to another country to receive medical treatment.
Thermal tourism is another form of health tourism. Thermal tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on the positive effects of mineral-rich natural spring water on both physical and psychological health. Thermal health tourism has revealed a new understanding of hospitality and service within its framework, which is based on natural spring waters emerging from the ground.
For more information, you can visit our article about; “What is thermal Health Tourism? Thermal health tourism in Turkey".
Another type of health tourism is called elderly tourism. Elderly health tourism means that elderly folk in need travel to other countries to receive medical treatment or care.
History of Health Tourism
As mentioned above, the history of health tourism dates back to the existence of humanity. Throughout the history of civilizations, people have traveled to other places to find healing. In fact, humanity's quest for immortality is just one of the factors that contribute to these journeys. Looking at the historical ruins, it is known that in ancient Greek culture, patients built thermal spas in the hope of finding healing. Interest in these spas began in the 17th century and continued until the 18th century. Rapidly rising poverty, increasing pollution, and deteriorating health conditions, especially on the European continent, have pushed people with particularly good financial conditions to travel to spas and healing points. At the beginning of the 18th century, with increasing industrialization, interest in hot springs increased and spa towns were founded.
The main critical turning point of health tourism has been experienced with the revolutions in transportation. With the invention of the steam train, and then with the introduction of automobiles into the life of mankind; distances were shortened. Health tourism has ceased to be a privilege of the rich class over time and has become accessible to more and more people. As more people became able to travel, health tourism has reached the point it is in today.
Currently, health tourism is a very important source of income for many countries, including Turkey.
History of Health Tourism in Turkey
Turkey is one of the most prominent countries in the world in both medical and thermal health tourism. Turkey, which has signed many firsts with investments made in the field of Health, world-class hospitals, and important successful medical personnel, also stands out in medical health tourism. At the same time, Turkey is a country surrounded by many fault lines, as it is located in an area where there are fractures of the Anatolian plate. For this reason, the country's lands are very rich in mineral hot spring waters. There are more than 1,300 hot groundwater sources in Turkey, 500 of which are known to be medicinal. Therefore, the country is one of the most preferred destinations in the world for the purpose of thermal tourism. In the country, which hosts a total of 190 hot springs, the potential for thermal tourism beds has been calculated as 1,365,000. Afyon ranks at the top of this ranking, while; Aydin, Denizli, Izmir, Kütahya and Sivas provinces follow the ranking.
The main reason why Turkey stands out in both these areas is; its rich history. The Anatolian lands, which Turkey is located, have a rich culture that even hosts the beginning of the history of mankind. These lands, which have been home to thousands of civilizations for centuries, have been home to thousands of successful scientists, healers, and doctors. The understanding of health, enriched by different cultures and their experiences, has brought Turkey to its present day.
This understanding and experience, which dates back centuries, is the product of the country's efforts in the field of medicine and the importance it places on innovation.
Health Tourism in today’s Turkey
Today, Turkey also carries its health heritage from the past. There are many investments made in the field of health in the country.
Especially with bilateral agreements between countries, health tourism is revived and services that will ensure patient satisfaction are signed. There are sub-units of the Health Ministry working directly for health tourism in Turkey. With the initiatives of these units, they work to bring patients from all over the world to Turkey for medical treatment purposes.
Turkey ranks in the top three in the world in the number of hospitals accredited with JCI. In addition, Turkey, which ranks first in Europe with its thermal resources, welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists every year in this field. The country's rich natural resources and historical monuments make the country a much more attractive location for international patients. Compared to many locations; with its temperate climate, advanced transportation technologies, Turkey is a much more preferable location. Turkey, which has been located in a land where different cultures coexisted throughout history, is also effective in being choosen by international patients with its hospitable identity.
The country also stands out for its achievements in the field of health tourism and thermal tourism. Thanks to doctors who have signed off on world-wide organ transplant surgeries, the country has successful figures in the world in these fields.
Also, because the prices are very affordable compared to many other countries, health services in Turkey get a great advantage in terms of price & performance.