People, Travel

14 Companies Receive Health Tourism License

14 Companies Receive Health Tourism License
14 Companies Receive Health Tourism License

As part of plans to develop the country’s health tourism, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has issued licenses for 14 tour companies to operate in the sector.

Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at ICHHTO, made the statement in the 11th meeting of the Health Tourism Strategic Council, comprising representatives of the health and foreign ministries, the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran and ICHHTO, CHTN reported.

Pointing to the effective cooperation of related organizations and the promising growth of health tourism, the official said training programs for industry players and preparation of statutes top the council’s agenda.

“The Health Ministry has been put in charge of organizing educational programs and the Health Tourism Development Association will also cooperate,” he said.

“Every person involved in the sector, including doctors, nurses and travel agents, should undergo a specialized training course before they can work in the sector.”  

The schemes are aimed at eliminating unauthorized middlemen who exploit the lack of management in this key sector and create a negative image for Iran.

Experts stress that if travelers are provided with detailed plans, they will not be deceived by intermediaries.

According to Mohammad Hossein Mirdehqan, the head of Treatment Supervision Office at the Health Ministry, the ministry has devised an educational program and is prepared to hold the first health tourism training workshop in collaboration with the management faculty of Iran University of Medical Sciences.

The ministry has also authorized nearly 100 hospitals to admit international patients.

“Following detailed discussions, 98 hospitals were granted IPD (International Patients Department) permits from among 299 hospitals that had applied for the license,” he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Hassan Qashqavi, who also addressed the meeting, pointed to plans to issue health tourism visas as part of the Foreign Ministry’s measures to help the sector by facilitating the travel of medical tourists.

Iran’s annual revenue from medical tourism is said to be between $400-500 million, which is expected to reach $2.5 billion in the foreseeable future.

According to a report earlier this year 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.