Increasing the level of individual health is one of the most important goals that make people spend their time and money. Ill people are not the only ones willing to spend a huge amount of their property on their physical and mental health. Even healthy people are interested in doing their best to maintain or improve their health index.
There is a great potential in Iran to attract health tourists. The country is capable of receiving almost one million health tourists each year, and this can result in an income of $7bn for Iran. If such a thing happens, it would be a great step towards the realization of Resistance Economy in the field of health.
Different Types of Health Tourism
There are different types of health tourism, some of which are explained below:
The first one, “wellness tourism”, is when tourists do not have a specific physical problem and just try to enjoy the healing nature of other regions.
The second, “curative tourism”, is when the tourist travels to a particular place to use its natural curative resources (mineral waters, salt, mud, and so on). These tourists usually undergo under medical treatment and supervision for certain diseases or on recovery period. The country’s authorities have paid special attention to this kind of tourism, particularly the mud therapy that has made Iran’s nature very popular for neighbouring states.
According to statistics, almost 45 million tourists in the world use water therapy to cure themselves. Iran has more than 1000 mineral water springs, and thus enjoys a great capacity to attract a lion share of this sector.
Cave therapy and salt therapy are two of of the attractions that have recently become popular among international tourists. Iran has several salt domes, and can turn to one of the world’s tourism hubs in the field.
“Medical tourism” is another type of health tourism, in which tourists visit the country to cure their physical diseases or to undergo surgeries in hospitals and medical centres.
This type of tourism is already available in Iran, and the country annually hosts several patients from such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan Republic, etc.
Royan Infertility Clinic is one of the centres that have long been receiving patients from different Middle Eastern countries. However, the number of patients is very low given the high potentials of Iran and regional countries’ need.
Iran also has the capacity to receive “traditional medicine tourists”. The country has its own traditional medicine, and the valuable herbs available in Iran can be attractive to foreign tourists.
Health Tourism in Iran: Opportunities and Threats
The most important advantage of medical tourism in Iran might be the cheaper prices of services compared with other countries, particularly the European and American ones.
On the other hand, a major problem ahead of receiving such tourists is a lack of proper investments in tourist spots and also a lack of global advertisements in the field.
Now that anti-Iran sanctions are lifted, and the number of tourists visiting Iran has multiplied according to the country’s tourism officials, we can tap into the opportunity to introduce Iran’s health tourist attractions to the world, particularly the countries in the Middle East.