An expert says given the country’s medical potential Iranian officials should do more to secure the inflow of cash via medical tourists.
The Iranian Health Ministry said Monday it has worked out a plan to promote medical tourism which is also known as health tourism. Under the plan hospitals which wish to admit foreign tourists have six months to set up a special ward for foreigners who visit the country to obtain treatment.
Among other things, the plan requires hospitals to register the type of services they offer and the fees they charge, and have translators to facilitate communication with foreign tourists. The plan which is partly designed to gather more information about the kinds of treatment which are in more demand calls on medical facilities to develop a website to catalog the services they offer and the price of each service.
In an analysis column in Arman-e Emrooz daily on Tuesday (September 16), University Professor and Tourism Expert Nasser Pazouki said that tourism is the second most profitable industry in the world and that according to the Bank World investment in healthcare is the third largest across the globe.
In other words, when these two are paired, they create a perfect environment for ideal investment. In each country between 60 and 70 percent of all hospital beds are occupied by locals who seek treatment. That means the remainder can be used to admit foreign patients.
In traveling overseas, medical tourists seek swift, quality treatment as well as tourism services during recuperation. That means top-quality medical services which are rarely found in Iran’s neighbors, competitive prices as compared with neighboring countries, and unique tourist attractions, particularly ancient sites, give Iran an edge in this field over other countries in the region. […]
Thanks to its geostrategic position in the Middle East, Iran has great health tourism potential. In addition to securing the flow of foreign currency into the country, when tapped, such potential can pave the way for employment of Iranian doctors overseas and set the stage for exports of medical equipment. […]
Under the 20-Year Outlook, Iran has to become the tourism hub in the region. […] According to global figures, medical tourism produced as much as $100 billion in revenues in 2012. The Islamic countries’ share of that figure has been no more than $3 billion. Iran’s share has been a meager $350 million which is nothing considering the country’s huge tourism and medical potential.
In light of the fact that each medical tourist brings in 300 percent as much money as a regular tourist does, Iranian media should shift into overdrive and play an important role in transforming the country’s tourism, securing the flow of local and foreign capital into the sector, creating sustainable jobs and promoting healthcare.