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How does Covid-19 pandemic affect the medical tourism industry?

September 2020

Tourism is one of the most important sources of income in many countries. Apart from generating foreign currency revenues, it contributes to general business activity and pushes innovation in products and services. Within the general travel sector, Turkey has developed a particular niche in health tourism, which is now a significant part of the national economy, attracting investment where financial returns are better than in other areas.

Looking at advanced healthcare with affordable health service prices and a respected status as a global tourist destination, Turkey has distinct advantages for medical tourism. During the pandemic, relative to developed nations, Turkey appeared to have a good health service with well-educated healthcare professionals, medical supplies, treatment and almost no capacity issues relevant to its hospitals. Turkey has tried to reduce the spread of coronavirus and maintain its number of deaths to a minimal level compared to global statistics. The durability of this success will contribute to the prestige of medical tourism within Turkey.

The Ministry of Health has declared that a standard process accepted by 31 countries will be applied in health tourism during the pandemic as of May 20th.

After the protective pandemic restrictions, we started to see the social and economic life of Turkey begin to return to close to normal. The Ministry published an official letter regarding acceptance criteria for entry into the country, hospital admission, and rules on treatment and isolation. Following the decisions to lessen the impact of restrictions, Turkey greeted patients and their attendants from all over the world with careful steps. The Ministry of Health sent guidelines based on the effective approach taken by Turkey to control the transmission of the pandemic. During international medical travel, exact procedures applied to patients and their families who wanted to receive health services in Turkey. Appropriate regulations for hospital admissions, treatment, discharge, and isolation were defined as well as the steps to be undertaken for patients and their companions who expect to acquire medical services were covered. Hospitalization protocols, medical procedures and discharge procedures for patients and their attendants must be followed in accordance to the guidelines established in the Covid-19 (Sars-Cov-2 Infection) Instructions of the Public Health Ministry for Health;

  • Maximum two attendants will be allowed into the country with the patient.
  • When entering Turkey, patients and their attendants are required to bring negative Covid-19 test result paper conducted within 48 hours of their journey.
  • One area of the hospital will be reserved to patients arriving from abroad. On entering Turkey, the patient and their attendees will be taken straight to the hospital.