Iran province seeks to attract medical travelers from Azerbaijan 

December 12, 2021 - 17:53

TEHRAN – Iran’s northwestern Ardabil province seeks to become a prime destination for medical travelers from Azerbaijan. 

To attract more travelers and tourists to Ardabil, plans and programs are being developed to promote health tourism in the neighboring country of Azerbaijan, the provincial tourism chief has announced. 

The province is ready to organize cultural programs in collaboration with Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan in order to create a culture and inform about its tourism capacities, Nader Fallahi said on Sunday. 

It is essential for the promotion of this sector of tourism that the Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan participate and cooperate as closely as possible, the official added. 

Reopening the border will also benefit citizens of the two countries, as the travel of tourists between the two nations will considerably increase, he noted.

Sprawling on a high, windswept plateau, Ardabilis well-known for having lush natural beauties, hospitable people, and its silk and carpet trade tradition. It is also home to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble.

The province is very cold in winter and mild in summer, attracting thousands every year. The capital city of Ardabilis usually recorded as one of the coldest cities in the country in winter.

The developing health tourism industry is one of the most important fields of Iran’s travel sector, which is trying to prove its capabilities and capacities in attracting medical and health tourists to the country.

Many domestic experts believe that medical tourism in Iran is a win-win opportunity both for the country and foreign patients, as they are offered affordable yet quality treatment services and the country gains considerable foreign currency.

Iran’s two most popular medical tourist cities are Tehran and Mashhad, but the coronavirus outbreak has significantly reduced the number of travelers.

Iran is one of the major destinations for health tourism in the region, and patients with 55 different nationalities, mostly from neighboring countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan are seeking to use Iran’s services and facilities in this field.

Iranian hospitals admitted nearly 70,000 foreign patients over the Iranian calendar year 1397 (March 2018 – March 2019) and it made an economic contribution of around $1.2 billion to the country, according to the medical tourism department at the Ministry of Health.

In April 2018, the rotating presidency of the International Health Tourism Conference of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was handed to the Islamic Republic for a three-year term.

Mohammad Jahangiri who presides over a national center for developing health tourism said in May 2018 that Iran can annually earn $7 billion in medical and health tourism, though the sector now brings in only one-seventh or even lesser of the sum.

The Islamic Republic has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in the Iranian calendar year 1404.

ABU/AFM 

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