The promise of hair transplants for a fraction of the price you would pay at home are still luring patients at a time when the rest of Turkey’s tourist industry has stalled. We take a closer look.

 

The Importance of Tourism to Turkey

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Tourism in Turkey is a well established and important sector for the national economy, it’s steady growth over years has seen it reach an estimated value of $700M in 2016. Despite serious issues on it’s borders with Syria as well as internal issues with refugees and a violent separatist war being fought by the Kurds, it was the attempted military coup last year which most significantly damaged the wider Turkish tourist industry. Tourism is, or should we say was, credited with producing 8% of all Turkish jobs, about 2 million jobs, and generating 5% of the country’s economy.

The failed coup led to massive reprisals by Prime Minister Erdogan, hand in hand with these reprisals came a tighter grip as Turkey sought to improve its internal security against a host of real and perceived threats. It was not enough to prevent the terrible attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul last new year, which left 39 people from 14 different countries dead.

The upshot was that from a height of being the sixth most popular tourist destination in the world, as recently as 2014, the numbers had dropped by 21% in 2016 and was predicted to fall another 22% for the start of 2017… and that was before the nightclub tragedy.

Health Tourism Bucking The Trend

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Of course there is all the difference in the world between choosing your holiday destination and deciding where to go for your hair transplant. For one thing the costs will continue to keep Turkey attractive. If a saving of 25% on your family holiday is not enough to tempt you into potentially putting your nearest and dearest in harms way, it might make a difference for a man looking at a $25,000 hair transplant in his home town against under $2000 in Turkey. Little wonder that these days most tourists are easily identified by their bandages.

Turkey’s position, where East meets West, means it has a huge target market that stretches throughout Europe and south through the Middle East and into Africa. Given that hair loss is a universal problem, and one that men will dig deep to afford, they are optimistic the value proposition will continue to outweigh any personal safety considerations.

Look Before You Leap

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It stands to reason that anybody considering travelling abroad for medical treatment needs to perform all the due diligence on their chosen clinic it is possible to do. The size of the hair transplant market in Turkey means there is ferocious competition… while this drives down the price it undoubtedly raised issues with quality. It is a recognised problem at many clinics that the surgery is performed by unqualified nurses and technicians. While this is an illegal practice in Turkey it is also widespread and broadly accepted, some clinic owners will even defend the practice claiming that these technicians spend so much time in theatre that they become as qualified as the surgeon they are watching. Remember, just because you meet a surgeon at consultation there is no guarantee that this is the person who will perform your surgery.

HIS Hair Clinic

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In general, we are fans of the Turkish transplant industry. There are a handful of outstanding clinics doing world class work at a price which should embarrass Western businesses providing the same service. But we know all too well from the SMP industry that copycats will jump on the bandwagon, shamelessly copy the language and credentials of the established clinics and damage the reputation of the industry.

If you want to take the risk out of the equation then why not book a free consultation with one of our friendly team of experts. Simply complete the contact form at the side of this page or click here to find your nearest clinic.

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By Ian Watson

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