18 June 2019 - 15:43
Journalist ID: 1006
News Code 83359326
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Number of foreign health tourists to Iran grow 10-fold

Ardebil, June 18, IRNA – "Over the past 10 years, the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran for medical treatment and health tourism has increased 10 times", Iran's Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education said in Ardebil on Tuesday.

Iran's Ardebil, a northwestern province, is hosting the 2nd Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Confobition (conference+ exhibition) on Health Tourism as of Tuesday.

Almost 150 domestic and foreign guests form eight world countries are present in the international event. The ECO Confobition is aimed at introducing economic and tourism capacities of Ardebil and entire Iran.

"Every year, 300,000 foreign tourists travel to Iran for medical treatment, with a total of $ 1.2 billion worth of revenues", said "Iraj Harirchi "Iran's  Iran's Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education in the inauguration ceremony of the 2nd Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Confobition (conference+ exhibition) on Health Tourism.

He named the nationals of neighboring countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan, as the main health tourists entering Iran.

Harirchi added: "Our goal is to turn Iran into a health center for health in the region, and we can provide health and treatment services for the citizens of neighboring and Muslim countries."

He said: More than 500 million people in neighboring countries and the ECO member state received health services, saying: "Development of health tourism will lead to a sustainable and friendly relationship with Iran's neighbors."

Iran's Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education added: Iran intends to allocate a large portion of the 20 million targeted tourists to health tourism tourists in the 20-year horizon, providing health care and health services, develop relations with its neighbors.

*** Iran; in limelight for religious and health tourism

Iran is one of the major tourist destinations in the world and the tourists coming to Iran can also become a major source for informing the people of their countries about the advance of health facilities of Iran after they go home.



Medical tourism made an economic contribution of around $1.2 billion to the country in the past Iranian year (March 2017-March 2018).



According to Iran's Health Ministry, Iran attracted around 300,000 medical tourists in 2017 and the number nearly doubled over its next year.



Iran has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical tourists to around two million in the Iranian year of 1404.



The ministry believes Iran has the potential to become a top medical tourism destination in the region. Presently, though, it is among the top three leading destinations of such tourists in West Asia.

*** Iran's Infrastructures to promote Health Tourism

About 98 hospitals and 14 travel companies have so far been issued health tourism permits across the country.

Furthermore, Iran’s Tourism Development Association has been formed by the council to help attract investment and garner the support of government entities.

The association is also responsible for promoting authorized centers and introducing them to both Iranians and foreigners. It is expected to introduce health tourism service providers through a comprehensive online portal.

Iran’s ultimate goal is to earn around $25 billion a year through tourism by 2025, around $2.5 billion of which will come from medical tourism.

According to a report in 2016 by Big Market Research, the global medical tourism market is expected to reach $143 billion by 2022. It was reported in May that the number of tourists traveling to Iran for advanced medical services has grown by 40% in the past five years.

Iran has a highly educated workforce and is a regional leader in scientific and health development. It is one of the top five countries in the world in biotechnology.

According to statistics, most of the health tourists are from Persian Gulf countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Central Asian states. Most travel for organ transplants (especially the liver) and for various eye surgeries, orthopedic surgery, knee arthroplasty, dental services, and cosmetic treatments.

The hospitals of Razavi (in Mashhad, the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi), Namazi (in Shiraz, the southeastern province of Fars), and two health centers in Tehran and border hospitals are Iran's top health tourism destinations.

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