© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This paper aims to explore the public’s attitude toward medical tourism activities by developing a measurement instrument in Turkey, an emerging medical tourism destination. Design/methodology/approach: During the development phase of the scale, 24 question pools were created. After the pilot study, data from a 20-question survey were collected from a study group consisting of Turkish citizens who received services from hospitals in the city of Ankara. Data were collected through convenience sampling of 221 study participants as they were walking in the Square of Kızılay, one of the most important centers and junction points in Turkey, between November 25, 2017, and December 27, 2017. Findings: The content validity of the scale was assessed by expert opinion. The scale reliability is high with Cronbach’s α (0.908). A factor analysis was performed to assess the factor structure of the scale. The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin measure of sampling adequacy (0.895) and Bartlett’s test (χ2 = 2,020.967; p = 0.001) were applied to determine the conformity of the scale of factor analysis. Exploratory factor analysis with Varimax rotation was performed to determine the factor structure of the scale. The 20 questions loaded under three factors: “contribution to the country,” “anxiety in getting services” and “service justice”. These factors explained approximately 55% of the total variance. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed with goodness-of-fit index (0.877), Bentler comparative fit index (0.909) and root mean square error of approximation index (0.069) to determine the validity of the factor structure, and the results indicated that the three-factor model is an acceptable level. All the results show that this new scale is valid and reliable in measuring the public’s attitude toward the development of medical tourism in Turkey. Originality/value: The public’s attitudes on the medical tourism scale show that, as a measurement tool, it can be used validly and reliably in determining the public’s attitudes toward medical tourism.