People, Travel

Foreign Investment in Medical Tourism Welcome

Foreign Investment in Medical Tourism Welcome
Foreign Investment in Medical Tourism Welcome

Despite boasting qualified medical personnel, the lack of infrastructure could put a dent in Iran’s attempt at becoming a regional, if not global, medical tourism hotspot, according to the country’s top health official.

“We have the manpower to cater to the needs of medical tourists, but we need foreign investment in the sector to build more facilities,” Health Minister Seyyed Hassan Hashemi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Earlier this year, 270 hospitals expressed readiness to admit foreign tourists seeking medical treatment, but the Health Ministry has to first certify their compliance with international standards before they can admit medical tourists.

Hashemi said reputable global brands will not only help expand healthcare centers across Iran, but can also use their networking prowess to promote Iranian health tourism abroad.

Most health tourists visiting Iran hail from the Persian Gulf and their top destinations are Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz.

“But I believe more Iranian cities can cater to health tourists coming from countries further away,” he said.

Most medical tourists travel to Iran to receive infertility treatment, undergo plastic and gum tissue graft surgery and get dental implants.

Hashemi said Iran has made great strides in organ transplantation and it is one of the leading countries in this field.

Experts believe Iran’s affordable medical care, combined with its favorable reputation in healthcare, must be capitalized to promote medical tourism.

Iran’s annual revenue from health tourism is between $400 million and $500 million, while the official target is to reach $2.5 billion in the foreseeable future.