ISTANBUL, the New Mecca of MEDICAL TOURISM? – VisualPolitik EN

Located in a narrow water inlet that separates
Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a city rooted in the most influential corners of history. Few cities can boast of having a past like
theirs. An ancient city once known as Byzantium, then
Constantinople, Istanbul was once the capital of three great empires: the Roman empire of
the East, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Places like Saint Sophia, the Blue Mosque,
and the Grand Bazaar are legacies from that era. But, folks… wait just a second… because
all that is in the… past. Nowadays, Istanbul is a lively city that hosts
more than 15 million inhabitants. The largest city in all of Europe. And an important economic enclave. 1 out of every 3 dollars of Turkey’s GDP is
generated here. And even though it barely hosts a fifth of
the country’s entire population, the Turkish government gets about half of all its tax
revenue from Istanbul. So we’re talking about Turkey’s true economic
engine. A growing financial, logistical, commercial,
and of course… touristic hub. Istanbul attracts 13.4 million foreign visitors
in 2018. Daily Sabah) However, folks, in recent years, Istanbul
has begun to be well-known for a different kind of tourism. A very, very special tourism model. As special as it is controversial. Have you ever heard of medical tourism? Listen up. (A HIGH-FLYING TOUR) Every year, hundreds of millions of people
travel abroad to experience a new culture and enjoy the sun, the beach, the mountains,
or famous art and architecture. However, folks, another type of unconventional
but highly coveted tourism has recently gained popularity: medical tourism. That is, traveling to another country to visit
its monuments, beaches and, in passing, fixing anything they may need fixed. “They usually come for three days. We offer them shopping or skiing tours, they
get well and have a short vacation,” said Kazim Devranoglu, the medical head of Dunyagoz
Group) And folks, I can already tell you that for
many governments, starting with Turkey’s, this is a priority. Of course… At this point we need to answer two questions
that many of you may be asking. The first is… why go to another country
in search of medical treatment? Well… this has three very, very clear answers. The first… is the price. Of course, if you have to get a medical procedure
that isn’t covered by your health insurance… price matters…. a lot. For example, some interventions and treatments
are much cheaper in Istanbul than they are in the United States. And when I say cheaper I mean much cheaper. 50, 60, 70 and even more than 80% cheaper. The second reason has to do with waiting lists. Yes, you may be covered by your health insurance
or social security, but… what about waiting lists? In public health systems such as those found
in Spain or the United Kingdom, it’s very common to have waiting lists… which are
quite long. [Which means you have to wait a long time
for your turn.] But of course, what happens if you can’t
or don’t want to wait? Then you need to find something on your own. And in that scenario, the big international
medical centers… don’t really have waiting lists, or they’re much shorter. The waiting time for a knee surgery in a Western
Country is 18 moths, but is only two weeks at most in Turkey. Emre A. Kodan, Chairman of the Istanbul International
Health Tourism Association.) Check out how the number of British medical
tourists has grown: And the third reason is quality. Yes, yes, you heard that right. When a place specializes in a particular treatment
and has many patients, it tends to be better. Surely you all know about Houston’s Texas
Medical Center, which serves about 10 million patients every year, and is one of the leading
medical centers on the planet. In the end, these places have so many patients
and so many resources that not only are they very good at their job, they also become engines
of medical research and innovation. But we said that we had two questions. We already answered the first one. So what’s the second? The other question is, why, exactly, is this
such an important activity for a country? Why would a government want to promote this
type of activity? Become a kind of International Health Care
Center. What could that bring to a country? Well, folks… Think about it. Along with the traditional jobs that tourism
creates, for example in the hotel industry – waiters or cooks – medical tourism helps
create a lot of highly qualified and well-paid jobs: Doctors, surgeons, nurses, laboratory personnel,
medical device suppliers, etc., etc. Due to the billing levels and the type of
activity generated, medical tourism is like the Rolex of tourism. And on top of that, it doesn’t have the
problem of seasonality, unlike holiday tourism, which tends to concentrate within just a few
months, usually during the summer. And it’s precisely these reasons that have
prompted the Turkish government to place great hope in medical tourism. A lot of hope… And a lot of money, in the form of incentives:
fewer taxes, financing, aid, etc., etc. “I believe the city hospitals will become
the focal points of health tourism. We are setting up special units in the city
hospitals to specifically serve foreign patients,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca) And, you know what? In a way, it makes a lot of sense. Allow me to explain. If Turkey is already a touristic power—
it has hotels, infrastructure, all kinds of services, a lot of cultural attractions, and
places like Istanbul are only 2 or 3 hours by plane from the main cities of Europe and
the East— Why not take advantage? Well, folks… so it was said and done. Turkey attracted nearly 1 million health tourists
in 2018, industry official says: Daily Sabah) And as I mentioned, this type of tourism leaves
much more money in a country’s pockets… than pure holiday tourism. In 2018, medical tourists left more than 2
billion dollars in Turkey. Thus, Turkey is already the third-largest
market in the world in terms of medical and health tourism. It stands only behind the United States and
South Korea. Folks, medical tourism in Turkey has multiplied
by more than 10 in the last decade. Just in 2008, they welcomed 75,000 people. In other words, the industry is skyrocketing. Turkey’s medical tourism industry boosts
visitor numbers. When Turkey’s traditional tourism industry
dried up, the country turned to its medical sector to attract a new wave of visitors. Business Destinations) Of course, all this is just the beginning
of what the government expects. The goal is generate 5 times as much income
from medical tourism five times by 2023, greatly exceeding the 10 billion dollar barrier. And, some within the government and the private
sector are even more ambitious. Their goal is 20 billion dollars. A huge business that also gives the country
a large foreign currency inflow. Dental care, dentistry, cosmetic surgery,
fertility treatment, cardiovascular interventions, transplants, oncological treatments… Turkey – and particularly Istanbul – wants
to become a world leader in international medical tourism. And in one way or another, this will be very
good for all of us. Why? Listen up. (THE CLUSTER) Folks, Istanbul is quickly becoming the world
leader in several medical specialties: from ophthalmology to knee care and hair transplants. In some of these fields, it’s already number
1 on the entire planet. And it’s that way because of price… and
innovation. Yes, you heard that right. It has to do with a logical and well-known
market process: Cluster creation. Allow me to explain. This happens when a site specializes in an
activity and many competitors engage in the same activity. This causes everything in the area to somehow
begin to revolve around that industry: the number of suppliers that compete with each
other multiplies; public administrations begin to facilitate things for this increasingly
influential industry; universities work with these companies, etc., etc. That, folks, creates a more dynamic ecosystem
and multiplies its innovation capacity. In other words, so to speak, Istanbul is becoming
the Silicon Valley of cataracts and hair transplants. For whomever may want them. All this may sound like a joke… But it isn’t. The city of Bosphorus already has hundreds
– you heard that right, hundreds – of clinics that specialize in this type of activity. In many cases, we’re talking about very
new clinics with very advanced treatments. And it’s estimated that by 2025, these types
of interventions will move tens and tens of billions worldwide. Anyway, I think we can now understand news
like this better: The global medical tourism market size is
expected to reach USD 179.6 billion by 2026, according to a new report by Grand View Research,
Inc., registering a 21.9% CAGR during the forecast period. Grand View Research) So I really hope you enjoyed this video, please
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