Published on : Saturday, November 18, 2017
According to World Tourism Organization, the tourism business volume of Iran is equal and sometimes surpasses that of crude oil exports. For this reason, the government of Iran is expanding its infrastructure to develop the hospitals with world class facilities.
Iran possesses numerous tourism attractions, which is including the UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites.
Heath tourism has prompted Iran to step up efforts to increase its tourism industry, particularly under President Hassan Rouhani.
To achieve this aim, the administration of President Hassan Rouhani has taken measures that mainly center on creating better conditions to attract foreign tourists in addition to showcasing Iran’s historic and natural attractions.
In this respect, the development of medical and health tourism has been put on the agenda on the grounds.
Iran enjoys the diverse climate conditions, natural resources such as hot and cold mineral springs, and different types of medicinal herbs.
The geographical proximity of Iran along with high-quality medical services at low cost in comparison with developed and regional countries has also contributed to reasons behind the government’s decision to bolster medical and health tourism.
In this vein, the inclusive measures of Iran such as holding medical tourism exhibitions in other countries and signing memorandums of understanding with 32 countries to host representatives from Iran’s leading company (HEGTA) in charge of health tourism to help facilitate travel of foreigners to Iran for medical purposes — have been taken.
The holding company, affiliated with Iran’s Social Security Organization, is also conducting a major medical tourism plan that in its first phase involves the participation of 22 hospitals — five of which are private.
In terms of infrastructure of tourism of Iran, measures taken so far are divided into two sections: those in major cities, and the others in border areas such as free economic zones.
The projects in major cities include a hotel hospital in the capital city of Tehran, which is the largest in the Middle East.
The hospitality complex is now operational, which has 100 beds and 100 suites to accommodate patients’ companions.
To the south of Tehran, a health care complex dubbed Healthcare City is underway in the historic city of Isfahan.
The project consists of four phases and is estimated to cost $260 million. The first phase became operational in late October, offering services such as beauty treatments and traditional medicine.
In the northwest, the private sector is constructing a hospital in the city of Urmiya in which nearly $260 million has been invested so far, and almost the same amount is still needed to complete the project, which will become Iran’s first smart hospital capable of being connected with similar hospitals in the world.
This is while infrastructure projects in border areas mainly involve the construction of medical centers. In this regard, free zones have been paid special attention as they enjoy competitive factors such as sharing borders with neighboring countries, easier transit and lack of visa-related issues.
The Persian Gulf island of Kish has made progress in medical tourism by offering visa-free medical services and possessing well-equipped medical centers and proper accommodations.
The free economic zones such as Aras in the northwest and Arvand in the southwest are not as advanced as Kish, measures have been taken in these regions as well.
According to Zamani, there are more than $230 million which has been invested to expand infrastructure in Arvand Free Zone over the past three years, while foreign and Iranian private sectors have also made a $1.3 billion investment in the same period.
There are around 105,000 inbound tourists visited Iran for medical purposes during the last Iranian year (which ended March 2017), bringing $588 million in revenue to the country — up from $350 million in 2012.