UN Envoy: Iran Has Great Potentials to Attract Medical Tourists

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran has made great achievements in the area of health tourism and providing suitable medical services to foreign visitors, the UN Representative in Iran Garry Lewis said in Mashhad on Tuesday.

UN Envoy: Iran Has Great Potentials to Attract Medical Tourists

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has also given refuge to many people from foreign countries and provides them with different medical and social security services,” the UN official said at the 4th Conference on Health Tourism in Islamic Countries in Razavi hospital.

"Nowadays, health tourism is an important issue and needs to be dealt with in a thorough manner, so that it can be put on the track for fast growth and development," he added.

The UN official also referred to Iran’s high potentials in health tourism field, proposing that such potentials--both in Iran and in the other Islamic countries--be employed at the service of tourist attraction.

He described setting priorities as the first step to boost health tourism, saying imroving the infrastructures and upgrading medical equipment are the next steps that need to be taken.

"There should be needs analysis for tourists and patients, so that more and better services could be provided," he suggested.

Health tourism is a category of tourism planned for up-keeping, enhancement and remedial services presented to a person during a foreign visit for improvement of his corporal and mental health.

Currently health and medical tourism are recognized as major subjects of tourism globally, but the qualities of the standards in the field are diverse worldwide.

There are also medical ethics issues involved and observations on the methods and access to advanced tools in offering these services in the Islamic world are in the focus of attention at the conference currently held in Mashhad.

Based on WHO’s reports, Iran is one of the best places for choosing as a destination for health tourism. For example, total health care cost is 5.7% of GDP which is less than many Europeans countries and US. Patients can undergo treatment, recover and enjoy a holiday in Iran for much less than what it would cost them for treatment in other countries.

The medical service in Iran is cheap while the healthcare establishments are well equipped and professional. Currently 30,000 foreign patients who are mostly from the neighboring countries come to Iran to receive medical treatments. There are also some 200,000 health, wellness and spa tourists. 

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