By Dilara Zengin
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey is expected to earn around $1.5 billion from health tourism in 2018, Firuz Baglikaya, head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB).
"The country's medical tourism income rose by 17 percent [nearly $600 million] in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year," he told Anadolu Agency.
Last year, Turkey's health tourism income was $1 billion, he added.
Baglikaya noted that medical tourism was a sector which has a huge potential for Turkey.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute's (TurkStat) data, compiled by Anadolu Agency, Turkey earned $4.4 billion between 2013 to 2017 from health tourism.
The number of medical visitors surpassed 433,000 in last year, up 62 percent from 267,000 in 2013, TurkStat data showed.
The data also showed that over 274,000 people visited Turkey for medical reasons in the first half of 2018.
Baglikaya said, between Nov. 7 and 11, the International Medical Tourism Islamic Council will be organized in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.
"Around 400 purchasing delegation from 56 Islamic countries will come to Antalya," he underlined.
Healthcare facilities' representatives, academics and NGOs will also attend the event, he added.