Turkey has long been popular with travellers due to its warm weather, stunning beach resorts and relatively cheap costs for meals and souvenirs – and it is currently the eighth most visited destination
Turkey is poised to overtake France as the second most popular European holiday, partly due to its medical tourism industry.
Compared with before the coronavirus pandemic, the Middle Eastern country has seen a huge 70% rise in visitors. According to tourism bodies WTM and Tourism Economics, 44.6million tourists went there last year and this number is set to hit 50 million in 2023.
Turkey has long been popular with travellers due to its warm weather, stunning beach resorts and relatively cheap costs for meals and souvenirs.
It is the eighth most visited destination by British tourists according to Abta – The Travel Association. However, medical tourism is believed to be behind Turkey’s recent rise in popularity.
In 2022, the country welcomed 1.2 million medical tourists and 746,290 have already gone there in the first half of 2023. Hair transplants and cosmetic dentistry top the treatment list in the country, followed by laser eye and weight-loss surgery.
Major city Istanbul saw more 1.7million visitors in August alone and is a particularly popular destination for men seeking hair transplants. Meanwhile, according to the Turkish Dental Association, up to 250,000 foreign patients arrive in the country every year for cosmetic dentistry, known as ‘Turkey teeth’.
However, British dentists are increasingly concerned about the procedure, where crowns are put on teeth that involve them being filed down to stumps.
People who undergo it often need corrective treatment – but many UK dental professionals will not treat Turkey Teeth because of the complexity of many of the procedures.
Undergoing surgery abroad can be dangerous, with the Foreign Office saying it is aware of more than 25 British nationals who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical procedures there.
These have included 31-year-old Melissa Kerr, who died in 2019 following Brazilian butt-lift surgery and Emma Morrissey., a 44-year-old who died during a weight-loss op in 2022.
The Foreign Office has also warned of outbreaks of the serious illness botulism, which has been linked to weight-loss treatments performed in Istanbul and Izmir in February.