Health Tourism in Iran: Best Facilities at Low Prices

Health Tourism: Best Facilities at Low Prices
Health Tourism: Best Facilities at Low Prices

Health tourism is a profitable industry, says Masoud Soltanifar, head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Medical costs are 20 to 30 percent lower in Iran compared to many European and Persian Gulf states, he maintains.

"That's why many Iranians residing abroad seek medical treatment during their visit home. Also, every year, due to the health sector's capacity, hundreds of foreigners travel to Iran to receive medical services," he said.

In addition to suitable medical costs, the geographical proximity and cultural and religious similarities are the other reasons that have turned Iran into one of the favorite destinations for the Islamic world, for Muslims as well as people of other denominations from nearby countries.

Iran has a highly educated workforce and is a regional leader in scientific and health development. It is one of the top five countries in the world in biotechnology.

According to statistics, most of the health tourists are from Persian Gulf countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Central Asian states. Most travel for organ transplants (especially the liver) and for various eye surgeries, orthopedic surgery, knee arthroplasty, dental services and cosmetic treatments.

The hospitals of Razavi (in Mashhad, northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi), Namazi (in Shiraz, southeastern province of Fars), and two health centers in Tehran and border hospitals are Iran's top health tourism destinations.

IVF Treatment

Also some people travel for assisted pregnancy, such as in-vitro fertilization, surrogacy or freezing embryos for retro-production.

The highly specialized Jihad Daneshgahi Infertility Center in Qom has been the destination of many medical tourists.

“Over 400 foreign infertile couples have been admitted to the infertility center in this southwestern province to receive medical treatment,” says the center's  chief.

“The couples mostly came from Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sweden and several African countries,” Mohammad Ebrahim Faqihzadeh said.

According to Mohammad Reza Karbasi, secretary-general of the ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECOCCI), compared to 4 years ago, the country's health tourism revenue has quadrupled, to half a billion dollars.

Based on existing evaluation, health fetches between $ 5000 and $10,000 per tourist. Presence of health tourists in the country will also create revenue for other sectors such as industrial, commercial, cultural and entertainment sectors.

Cosmetic Surgery

With one of the highest percentages of rhinoplasties per capita in the world, Iran is well known for its face altering surgeries. The country has developed a reputation in the region for relatively affordable procedures for altering one’s nose, so much so that people from nearby states like Oman, travel to Iran to undergo these procedures.

According to statistics, 3000 plastic surgeons are operating in Tehran alone.