İzmir, within the scope of health tourism, had a serious potential especially for medical (medical) tourism and thermal tourism in every period from prehistoric times to the present.
In ancient times, Bergama-Asclepion was the leading health center of Anatolia. In Asklepion, one of the three big health centers dedicated to the Pergamon God of Health, Asklepios, there is a column depicting the double snake, which is the symbol of medicine.
Galenos, who is called the father of pharmacology, treated his patients in Pergamon Asclepion. The famous Asclepion Health Center of the ancient period is known as the place where scientific studies on human health, medical interventions are made and the starting point of pharmacy.
Among the treatment methods applied; Interpretation of dreams by priests (suggestion treatment) in mental illnesses by making patients sleep in their sleeping rooms, hot, cold and mud baths in physical diseases, treatment with medicinal herbs, diet cures, massages with herbal oil or ointments, blood draw, sunbathing therapies, and surgical procedures when necessary. interventions were made.
Today, the fact that most of the universities in İzmir have medical faculties, that there are specialist doctors and specialist health teams in private and public hospitals accredited in accordance with international criteria, that all kinds of surgical interventions and even organ transplants can be easily performed, we have an important potential in health tourism and the sector It is a sign of rapid growth and development.
In addition, there are very attractive government supports in the field of health tourism. Some of the hospitals in İzmir work with international connections and all kinds of services for the treatment, transportation and accommodation of patients brought abroad within the scope of health tourism are offered together as a package program. Bringing health tourism to the forefront will be an important privilege for İzmir tourism.
Why is İzmir so prominent in health tourism? It is possible to examine this issue from different perspectives. For this reason, it would be best to answer this question under two headings. First of all, I will tell you the only thing we need to look at, the possibilities of Izmir in the field of health.
Health Opportunities of Izmir
The fact that İzmir has a large number of public and private institutions operating in the field of health and that these institutions offer advanced services in their own branches are among the most important factors that play a role in attracting health tourists to İzmir. According to the data published by İzmir Chamber of Commerce (İZTO) in 2019, the number of institutions active in various health branches in İzmir is 2923. By stating that this number is even more than the number of health institutions in many countries, we have given one of the most necessary pluses for health tourism to İzmir.
The ranking of these 2923 institutions is as follows, according to IZTO data:
56 hospitals in total, including public, private and state
6 oral and dental health centers
76 oral and dental health clinics
44 branch centers
30 medical centers
30 outpatient clinics
257 family medicine
950 medical supplies group
824 human health professions
278 opticians profession group
372 tooth groups
Of the 410 thermal springs in Turkey, 123 are located in the Aegean. All 59 of these thermal springs in the Aegean are offered to domestic and foreign health tourists in İzmir. In addition, the fact that İzmir University of Economics started to train doctors, nurses, caregivers and intermediate staff to be employed in the health sector has been one of the factors that positively affected İzmir's health tourism.
Health History of Izmir
Among the reasons why health tourists prefer Izmir, Izmir's health history and epics related to this area have a large share. For example, according to an old belief, it is believed that death cannot enter this city, and the city has been called by this name throughout this history. In addition, the statements that testaments were not opened in this city both helped this city to progress in the field of health and attracted the attention of health tourists.
Another example occurred quite recently. In 2011, there was a belief that the whole world would perish. According to this belief, Şirince Village in İzmir would not be affected by the apocalypse, and the new world would start from this village. This belief, which resonated all over the world at that time, was found in Şirince at a time when many people, local and foreign, believed that the apocalypse would break out. In short, in many beliefs, it is seen that İzmir is at the forefront in terms of health.
Well, is İzmir famous only for its health aspect? Of course, no. Due to the presence of many touristic places such as the ancient city of Ephesus, Kordon and holiday villages, this city, which is highly developed in terms of tourism, is a city that combines health and tourism skills.
When we look at all these conditions, it would be quite natural to say that İzmir is one of the leading cities in Turkey in terms of health tourism.