Islamic Azad University is planning to host health tourists at its 11 hospitals across the country, announced a senior figure at IAU.
“Medical tourism is the most profitable and stable branch of tourism in Iran,” Dr. Seyyed Ali Abtahi, the university’s deputy for medical sciences, told YJC.
He attributed the profitability of health tourism to Iran’s high medical standards and affordability, which help “draw many from regional countries”.
Iran’s health tourism revenues were around $1.2 billion in the Iranian year ending March 2016, according to the Association for Development of Medical Tourism Services.
Abtahi said over 10% of patients visiting hospitals in the provinces of West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Khorasan Razavi and Fars are foreign tourists seeking quality healthcare in Iran.
According to Abtahi, six of the university’s 11 hospitals are ranked among the best in the country.
“Equipping more clinics and hospitals and preparing university hospitals to provide high quality medical services to foreign tourists would definitely help boost development,” he said.
The high cost of private treatment and low quality health systems in regional countries have created demand for Iranian medical services.
Those from Muslim countries are particularly attracted to Iran, as they feel safer and satisfied than in Asian countries offering similar services.
Iran’s ultimate goal is to earn around $25 billion a year through tourism by 2025, around $2.5 billion of which will come from medical tourism.
According to a report in 2016 by Big Market Research, the global medical tourism market is expected to reach $143 billion by 2022. It was reported in May that the number of tourists traveling to Iran for advanced medical services has grown by 40% in the past five years.