Turkey: A key player in medical tourism

Updated 28 October 2014

Turkey: A key player in medical tourism

Turkey has emerged as one of the destinations for medical tourism as the country tries to boost tourism revenue.
History fanatics, adrenaline junkies, sunbathers and foodies are all in for a treat when heading for a holiday in Turkey, but the nation is also drawing tourists that are seeking to avail Turkey’s competitive edge in medical tourism.
Today, Turkey is the world’s sixth top destination in terms of tourist numbers.
Out of the roughly 35 million tourists, who visited Turkey last year, around 188,095 came for surgical procedures, from hair transplants and liposuction to cancer and orthopedic treatment, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
The number of medical tourists who visited Turkey in the first six months of 2014 totaled 162,445 with revenues reaching $328 million.
“Currently, more than 1,000 patients travel to Turkey every year to take advantage of the medical services we offer,” said Fatih Ozturk, the project manager of VisitandCare.com, a patient and doctor matching service which helps visitors from the Middle East and Europe.
Meanwhile, those from less-developed nations are attracted by Western-trained medics and new facilities sprouting up as Turkey’s private health care industry flourishes.
Additionally, the fact that Turkey is a central tourist attraction is also enticing.
Turkey’s Health Ministry said the country has great advantages in terms of health tourism with a very convenient geographical location.
“The country has made significant improvements and began to compete with countries such as India, Malaysia, Thailand and Hungary, which are strong in the sector,” the report reads.
Foreign institutions including Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional, Qatar’s First Investment Bank, Argus Capital Partners and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. have put money into the Turkish health care sector.
The country is building medical facilities with public-private partnerships where the state will rent city hospitals built and run by the private sector for 25 years.
This year also, tourism is booming and that too not only in medical sector.
In fact, a seven percent rise in the number of visitors to Turkey has been recorded, which is welcomed by Tourism Minister Omer Celik Turkey saw a seven percent rise in the number of tourists visiting the country in the first eight months of 2014, the Turkish tourism minister reported.
Omer Celik said recently that nearly 25.7 million tourists came to Turkey between January and August compared to 23.7 million over the same period last year.
This is a very good record because the World Tourism Organization predicts world tourism’s growth at four to five percent this year but Turkey’s growth is exceeding seven percent.
Germans topped the list of foreign visitors to Turkey, followed by Russians and Britons.
On the other hand, Turkey offers a wealth of different kinds of destinations to travelers.
From the dome and minaret filled skyline of Istanbul to the Roman ruins along the western and southern coasts, from the beaches of Antalya and the Mediterranean seaside resorts to the misty mountains of Eastern Black Sea.
With so many amazing destinations a top 10 is bound to leave some great tourist attractions in Turkey out.
So consider this list of destinations as just the start of a great holiday in Turkey.
The list includes Aspendos Theatre, which boasts one of the best preserved ancient theaters of antiquity.
The theater of Aspendos was build in 155 AD during the rule of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and could seat between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators.
Next is Patara Beach, which is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach found anywhere in the Mediterranean.
Then there is Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, which is an unreal landscape in western Turkey, famous for its white terraces.
The terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water with a very high mineral content from the hot springs.
Turkey is also called a land of castles and mosques.
Located in the city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey, Bodrum Castle was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century as the Castle of St. Peter.
It is one of the world’s best preserved monuments dating back to medieval times.
The castle now operates as a museum, with the focus on the Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
It overlooks the internal marina of Bodrum filled with millions of dollars worth of sailing crafts.
On the other side is Nemrut, which is a 2,134 meter (7,001 ft) high mountain in southeastern Turkey, near the city of Adiyaman.
The summit of Mount Nemrut provides a great view of the surrounding mountains.
The main attraction is to watch the sunrise from the eastern terrace, which give the bodyless heads a beautiful orange hue and adds to the sense of mystery of the place.
A visitor to Turkey can also enjoy its pastoral charm by visiting Oludeniz, which is a small village located on the south west coast on the Aegean Sea.
It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon.
This beach is famous for its shades of turquoise and remains one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean.
The long list of attractions in Turkey includes the famous Blue Mosque.
With its six minarets and sweeping architecture the Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque in Istanbul impresses from the outside.
While still used as a mosque, the Blue Mosque has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul.
It was built between 1609 and 1616 and like many other mosques contains the tomb of the founder.
Also, the ruins of Ephesus are a popular tourist attraction on the west coast.
Some of the structures can still be seen however including the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus.
The library was built around 125 AD to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus, the governor of Asia.
Then there is another tourist wonder — Cappadocia, which is famous for its weird and wonderful natural rock formations and unique historical heritage.
On the top of the must-see list is Hagia Sophia.
Located in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia was originally a basilica constructed for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century.
A masterwork of Roman engineering, the massive dome (31 meters or 102 feet in diameter) covers what was for over 1,000 years the largest enclosed space in the world.


Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

Updated 8 min 2 sec ago

Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

RIYADH: In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, governments around the world introduced strict measures to curb its spread.

Due to the unavailability of a vaccine against the virus, social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

And with stringent coronavirus measures, companies have made arrangements for employees to work from home. As there is no clarity about an end to this viral outbreak, debate on work-life balance has been ignited.

A new study titled “How COVID-19 changed the way people work” — conducted by global cybersecurity company Kaspersky — reveals how quarantine has influenced how people work from home.

The “new normal” that workers are now facing is starting to have an impact on their work-life balance.

Nearly a third (31 percent) of workers said they are spending more time working than they did before. However, 46 percent said they have increased the amount of time they spend on personal activities.

This increased time on “personal activities” may be attributed to the fact that many people do not have to spend time commuting.

The study added that it has become harder for workers to separate working and personal activity, especially when it comes to IT.

It further stated that 55 percent of workers are now reading more news compared with life before the pandemic.

Workers are also developing a habit of using personal services for work, increasing digital risks, including the disclosure of sensitive information. 

Some 42 percent of employees use personal email accounts for work-related matters, and 49 percent admit their usage has increased when working from home. 

“Organizations cannot just fulfill all user requests, such as allowing staff to use any services. It is necessary to find a balance between user convenience, business necessity and security. To achieve this, a company should provide access to services based on the principle of only supplying minimal and necessary privileges, implement a VPN and use secure and approved corporate systems,” said Andrey Evdokimov, chief information security officer at Kaspersky.

He added: “These types of software may have certain restrictions that slightly reduce usability, but offer greater assurances in providing security measures.”

Dr. Waquar Ahmad Khan, an assistant professor at Taibah University, Madinah told Arab News: “The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent work-from-home imperatives and lockdowns have led to significant changes in the workings and lifestyles.”

He highlighted that working from home has both positive and negative aspects. 

“Being an academic I can say that teaching is an occupation with low suitability to work from home. To teach remotely without socializing can compromise both teachers and students’ academic performance and mental health,” he said.

There are other issues from the new working culture. Support from colleagues is now harder to find, at least face-to-face, he said, adding that anxieties about the public health issues itself are high.

Dr. Majed Al-Hedayan, a legal expert, told Arab News that the pandemic has led to a restructuring of the concept of job commitments.

“It has become an ambitious and optimistic view contrary to what it was before the pandemic that the performance of workers was below the level of ambition,” he added.

“This motivates public and private entities to adopt a methodology for remote working in the coming period after the pandemic,” said Al-Hedayan.