Patients from Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Persian Gulf littoral states constitute the largest number of travelers who visit Iran annually for medical services.
The Ministry of Health registered some 105,000 inbound patients over the past Iranian calendar year (March 2016-March 2017), a majority of them came from the above mentioned neighboring countries.
Currently, 35 authorized institutes facilitate such services in the country, Mohammad Ali Fayyazi, secretary of the medical tourism steering council, affiliated with the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization, said.
“Our preference is that accepting foreign patients to hospitals in Iran should be done through [such] authorized institutions,” he added.
In an interview with the Tehran Times, Vahidreza Mohebpour, who presides over the medical tourism department of the Ministry of Health, asserted that the total number of travelers visiting the country for medical purposes can go beyond 300,000.
“We have a report of 105,000 patients; however, the number of patients admitted in all the hospitals is much higher than reported and their total number is estimated to be more than 300,000,” he explained.
“Cost-effective, high quality, and adequate services have always been the very items on top of our tourist patients’ agenda when it comes to select a target country for its medical services,” Mohebpour added.
Iran has launched extensive plans to bolster its tourism sector. Under its 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country is expecting to increase the number of tourism arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.
Back in February, the Central Insurance of Iran and Central Bank of Armenia signed an agreement to boost cooperation in insurance and reinsurance services during an Iranian delegation’s visit to the country. Officials from Iran Insurance Company, Parsian Insurance and Iranian Re also held meetings with Armenian insurers.
Iran is reportedly the second largest contributor to Armenia’s tourism industry. The number of Iranian tourists visiting Armenia has been growing steadily, such that in 2016 it registered the largest growth by any country with 30%.
According to ArmInfo, Armenian insurers’ premium income amounted to $66.6 million in 2016, marking a 6.8% growth compared with 2015. Iran insurance industry’s premium income stood at $6 billion in 2016.