Turkey’s Ministry of Commerce offers significant investment incentives to local businesses to develop medical and health tourism. These are explained in Communiqué No. 2015/8 on “Support for trade in foreign exchange-generating services”.
The communiqué determines the procedures and principles regarding the assumption of certain expenses related to the activities carried out by those who will benefit from the communiqué to increase foreign exchange service income and to improve the international competitiveness of the service sectors in Turkey.
To benefit from incentives for medical and health tourism, it is necessary to first obtain a health tourism authorization certificate.
If a hospital sets up a preliminary diagnosis center abroad, 60% of the rent of this establishment is covered by the ministry for four years and support is provided for up to 10 units. Once the center is open and publicity activities have begun, another 60% non-refundable grant is awarded for four years.
If companies wish to attend a conference or trade show, they can receive a non-refundable grant of 50% towards trade show attendance fees and travel costs for up to two representatives.
Regarding commission payments to agencies bringing international patients to Turkey, 50% support is provided for four years.
Non-refundable grants can be obtained for 60% of the payments of the reports necessary for entering a foreign market, including financial and legal reports, as well as 60% of the expenses related to advisory services for foreign business acquisitions .
A non-refundable grant of up to 50% may be requested for expenses related to consultancy services of companies, organizations and experts on topics determined by the Ministry of Commerce to increase competitive advantage over international markets.
The incentives supported by the Ministry of Commerce in this context are very attractive. If used correctly, medical and health tourism will increase significantly every year.
Turkey’s goal is to treat two million international patients in Turkey by 2023.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) suggests that 388,000 foreigners visited Turkey for health tourism and revenues amounted to $550 million in 2020.
TUIK’s comparable figures for 2021 are 642,000 people (including 400,000 from Europe) and revenues have climbed to $1.05 billion.
Some industry locals suggest revenues were actually much higher, at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion when unregistered revenues are included.
Most foreigners visit Turkey for cosmetic surgery, hair transplants, cardiovascular surgery, dentistry, orthopedics, cancer treatment and in vitro fertilization.