Hair transplants are the main driving force behind Istanbul’s tourism this summer

Istanbul is the Mecca of hair transplants attracting a multitude of patients from Arab countries, the US and Europe. Male hair transplant surgery is a $1 billion industry in Turkey, reports Bloomberg News. According to Euronews, more than 250,000 people travel every year to Turkey to undergo a hair transplant operation. One of the main reasons seems to be the price. A hair transplant in the United States can cost, on average, the equivalent of 15,000€.

In France, for example, for 5,000 micro implants, a patient has to spend on average 10,000€. The price only covers the cost of the operation, as well as the pre-and postoperative appointments. For the same procedure and the same number of micro implants in Turkey, the price would be on average 3,800€.

Why is surgery a cheaper than in some European countries? Esquire magazine reports that the Turkish government subsidizes health tourism (hair, oncology, dental) and 40% of the costs of these operations are financed by them. But to give this aid the clinics must receive constant health checks and evaluations. There are clinics that do not have this subsidy and also usually have low prices, so there’s a risk that the results are of low quality.

The relatively lower labor costs in Turkey play a role, as well as the enormous competition that exists in the country; in Istanbul alone there are some 350 clinics specializing in hair implants.

The hair transplant operation follows a strict process and usually takes 6 to 9 hours. To notice the first effects, the patient will have to wait between 6 to 12 months to regain hair density. The grafted hair will resume the same rate of growth as a non-grafted hair.

Studies on alopecia or hair loss indicate that white men are much more prone to hair loss. The statistics show curious results: the country with the most bald heads is the Czech Republic (43% of the population), followed closely by Spain (42%), Germany (41%) and France (39%). The country with the fewest alopecia is China, where only 19% of the population suffers from hair loss.

The World Travel & Tourism Council report shows that Turkey is set to be the fourth most popular European destination this summer. According to the report, the country’s tourism revenues nearly tripled in the second quarter of 2022, with foreign visitor numbers surging close to 2019 levels. Revenues surged to $8.7 billion (€8.5 billion) between April and June – up 190% compared to the same period last year.

According to Eurnoews, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey aimed to generate $37 billion (€36.3 billion) in tourism revenue and attract 47 million tourists this year, revising the previous targets of $35 billion (€34.3 billion) and 45 million visitors. In 2022, authorities had wanted tourism to at least match 2019’s numbers, when some 52 million visitors brought in $34 billion (€33.3 billion) in revenue.

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