Despite the world’s financial crisis, which had a severe effect on the international tourism sector, the number of Gulf states tourists selecting Turkey as a destination has increased in 2009 by 16.45%. 27m tourists from around the world visited Turkey during 2009. Out of the entire world, Arab tourists have made the biggest increases, led by Kuwait, and followed in order by United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Turkish tourist authorities are running advertising and promotional campaigns in the Arab world for 2010.These will focus on introducing and marketing Turkey as a health and medical tourism destination. Turkey has a reputation of being one of the countries that has advanced medical services with relatively reasonable rates and the ability to carry out complex medical operations such as open-heart surgery.
The Turkish Government has recently offered a number of investment opportunities and facilities to invest in the medical and health tourism sector for both Turkish and foreign investors where they can build health and spas near natural and thermal springs. According to official statistics, over 200 health and spa centers will be built as per this plan. Afyon City has five resorts by mineral springs and has been selected as a model city and future capital for mineral springs’ tourism.
A new government long-term plan from 2010 to 2023, aims to sustain health and medical tourism in order to make best use of the unique natural wealth that the country has. The government wants to attract more Arab tourists, particularly as a health and medical destination. The cultural and geographical closeness to these countries means these tourists prefer to come to a country that appreciates the Islamic culture. Favourite cities are Istanbul, Yalova, Bursa, Bodrum, and Antalya.
Turkey is also seeing more outbound health tourism in a special niche sector. With more Turkish parents wanting their child to be born in the USA, tourism companies are starting to offer birth tourism packages to US cities. Many women say giving birth in the USA has benefits including cheaper education and fewer visa worries. Some Americans want to restrict the practice, citing fears of illegal migration.12, 000 Turkish children have been born in the USA since 2003.The numbers are significant enough to draw the attention of tourism companies and inspire them to pursue birth tourism. The Turkish-owned Marmara Hotels group has a new birth tourism package that includes accommodation at their Manhattan hotel. Levent Baş of Gurib Tourism says, “We have been involved in medical tourism since 2002, but we were also receiving so many demands about this issue that we decided to sell birth packages. We first started our research in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Orlando and we only contacted Turkish doctors. We are preparing a package that covers everything from the flight and city tours to accommodation for several months and hospital expenses.” The minimum cost is $25,000, which rises to $40,000 if the destination is New York.
Many women abroad wish to give birth in the USA, as according to the U.S.’s 14th Amendment, the country grants citizenship to anyone born on its soil. But right-wing politicians want to change the law. Republican Congressman Gary Miller is co-sponsoring a bill that seeks to abolish birthright citizenship for children born in the country to illegal immigrant parents,” They come to this country and have babies. The children are citizens. The children are eligible to go to school. They receive food stamps and social programmes. The American taxpayers are paying for it,"
While it can be controversial, birth tourism is legal in the U.S. and not just popular in Turkey but also in Asian countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Many South Korean parents-to-be have chosen to give birth in the U.S. for many reasons, ranging from a desire to enroll their children in American schools to enabling them to avoid South Korean military service.
The birthright citizenship formerly applied in other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia but both countries modified their law in the mid-1980s. India maintained a birthright law until 2004, but ended the right to prevent continued illegal immigration from neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh.