0818 GMT December 16, 2017
Addressing representatives of 32 countries in a meeting on medical tourism in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province, on Tuesday, Rabiei said, Iran's most important feature in medical tourism is the low price it offers compared to those in other countries, IRNA reported.
Iran's medical tourism, he noted, has other attractions as well, such as the country's high security, experienced medical staff, spas, salt-water lakes, and mud therapy facilities.
In terms of its natural, climatic and historical attractions, Iran ranks tenth, fifth and fourth respectively in the world, he added.
Thanks to its geographical location, conditions in neighboring countries, reasonable prices and advanced medical facilities, Iran is gradually becoming a destination for health tourists from the region, especially from Muslim countries.
Hospitals in Iranian cities offer medical and healthcare services for foreign health tourists. Medical services in Iran are comparable with those offered in advanced countries. Geographical proximity as well as cultural and religious commonalities have turned Iran into one of the best and most economically attractive destinations for health tourists.
Iran has a highly educated workforce and is a local leader in scientific and health development. It is one of the top five countries in the world in biotech and nine out of 15 high-usage biotech molecules are produced in Iran.
Hence, the country has a great opportunity to attract health tourists from Muslim countries. For instance, the existence of mineral springs in many parts of the country makes it an ideal location for health tourism.
Other potential areas include fertility treatment, stem cell treatment, dialysis, heart surgery, cosmetic surgery and eye surgery. It also produces specialized medicines such as the anti-AIDS drug IMOD, and other high-tech drugs.
Foreign health tourists can be subdivided in two groups. The first includes those who travel from advanced countries to other parts of the world seeking high-level medical service at considerably lower prices.
The other group of health tourists are those who come from less advanced and less developed countries where medical services are not satisfactory and Iran can offer them greater health services at very reasonable prices.
About 30,000 health tourists come to Iran each year, in addition to some 200,000 health, fitness and spa tourists.