‘Tehran holds potential to become a hub for health tourism’

October 12, 2019

TEHRAN – Tehran has the potential to become a hub for health (and medical) tourism, Tehran province governor-general has said.

“There are many great potentials in Tehran that can attract hundreds and thousands of foreign tourists to be treated at hospitals in the capital,” Anoushirvan Mohseni-Bandpay said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 4th International Health Congress of Islamic Countries, which was held at Tehran’s Homa Hotel.

The tree-day event brought together officials, senior scholars, academia, and travel agents from the public and private sectors in order to introduce their latest achievements, share experiences and discuss issues concerning economic and technological developments.

Most of Iran’s advanced hospitals and medical centers are located in the metropolis, which attracts the biggest share of foreigners who are seeking medical services in Iran, IRNA quoted Mohseni-Bandpay as saying.

Serbian ambassador Dragan Todorovic told IRNA: “We are here with four representatives of our companies, one of which is a big spa with huge foreign clientele. We in Serbia want to deepen cooperation with Iran in terms of health tourism.”

Afghanistan, Turkey, Malaysia, India, Azerbaijan Republic, Oman, and Russia were among countries that sent their representatives in order to create a networking platform for big medical centers to connect with each other and expand their market.

In his keynote speech, Alireza Zaali, the president of congress, said, “There is no specialized operation that can’t be carried out in Iran.”

He mentioned that Iran has taken leaps in development of cutting-edge science and that common cultural and historical backgrounds of regional countries make Iran a great health tourism spot in the region, noting that Iranians’ hospitality makes every foreign patient feel at home.

“It’s going very great. We have had many patients from various countries such as the Arab littoral states in the Persian Gulf,” Qafuri, head of Tehran’s Treata General Hospital’s International Patients Department (IPD), which has been active in health tourism for past five years, told IRNA during the event.

“We are not limiting ourselves to regional patients. In Treata we are thinking to open a VIP section for Europeans, especially the British if and when the country leaves the European Union,” Treata IPD head said.

“Iran’s health sector is very interesting for Europeans for state-of-the-art equipment used in treatment. It’s also very cost-effective like a doctor’s visit is only 10 dollars, which is nothing for a European national in comparison to their own or other countries,” she stressed.

“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 health minister Harirchi was quoted as saying in June.

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

Iran attracted around 300,000 medical tourists in 2017 and the number nearly doubled over its next year, the ministry says.

Iran has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical tourists to around two million in the Iranian year of 1404 (2025).

AFM/MG

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