Medical travelers hold significant share of arrivals in Iran: tourism chief

August 20, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran tourism chief has said that medical [and health] travelers constitute a significant share of arrivals in the country.

“[Nearly] 7.8 million foreign nationals visited Iran over the past [Iranian calendar] year [ended March 20] that a significant number of whom were medical tourists,” Mehr quoted Ali-Asghar Mounesan as saying on Monday.

Mounesan made the remarks on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a radiotherapy and chemotherapy center in Arak, west-central Iran.

“During the first three months of this year, the number of tourists arriving in the country increased by 40 percent, again [significant] part of whom was health tourism,” he added.

“Medical tourism is one of the most important fields of Iran’s travel sector and an [average] spending of $2,400 per tourist indicates its importance.”

Mounesan who doubles as vice president added that such figures demonstrate there is a good opportunity in the country in terms of medical and health tourism, and Arak should take such an advantage too.

Iran hosted a record high of nearly 600,000 medical travelers during the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-July 21), nearly equal to the figure for the whole past year, according to an Iranian association for the health tourism promotion.

People from the Persian Gulf littoral states, Iraq and Syria as well as Iranian expatriates residing in Canada and Germany constituted the majority of medical travelers to the Islamic Republic, who received plastic, cosmetic, open-heart and orthopedic surgeries amongst other treatments, Mohammad Panahi, a deputy for the association, said in July.

Medical tourism fetched Iran some $1.2 billion last year, Panahi said, adding that the figure has increased by 20-30 percent in the first four months of this year.

Many domestic experts say that medical tourism in Iran produces win-win outcomes as the country yields considerable benefits to international health-care seekers, offering affordable yet quality treatment services.

Iranian hospitals admitted nearly 70,000 foreign patients over the last year, according to the medical tourism department at the Ministry of Health.

The Islamic Republic has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in [calendar year] 1404 (March 2025-March 2026).

AFM/MG

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