Iran expands provision for medical travellers

220 Iranian hospitals now have medical tourism licenses as the country plans for expected record numbers of medical travellers.

The number of international travellers seeking medical services in the Islamic Republic rose 200% in the first half of the current Iranian year, in comparison to the same period before the pandemic.

Based on available data, the Islamic Republic attracted 125,231 international patients for medical services during the first quarter of the current Persian calendar year. The majority of those travellers came from Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and the Gulf states.

The country is mostly visited by medical tourists seeking to undergo cosmetic surgery. Iran also claims international patients arrive for organ transplants, ophthalmology, and infertility treatment.

Shiraz, Mashhad, Yazd, Tabriz, Urmia, Ahvaz, Ramsar, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Tehran, Isfahan, and Sanandaj are the most desired destinations for medical tourists.

Data compiled by the Health Ministry suggest the Islamic Republic hosts an average of one million medical tourists per annum. It also claims revenues from medical tourism exceeded US$1 billion per annum up to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Islamic Republic is known as an affordable destination for medical tourism, offering access to high-quality medical care.   Iran’s strengths include qualified surgeons and medical professionals, state-of-the-art equipment, high-tech medicine and a variety of specialisations, and affordable procedures. The country gains a sizable amount of foreign exchange in the process.

The government is supporting efforts to attract more medical tourists in the future, although challenges remain in the provision of a skilled workforce, variable infrastructure, and an inconsistent level of support from authorities for the industry.