COVID has not stopped medical tourism in Iran: Deputy Minister

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TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy tourism minister has said COVID-19 restrictions are not stopping medical tourism in the country.

“The coronavirus pandemic has reduced the arrival of medical tourists to Iran but it has not stopped the [worldwide] demand and travel flows, ”Ali-Asghar Shalbafian said on Monday, quoted by IRNA.

“Our vision of medical tourism is not purely economic. We see it as a tool and an opportunity to represent the achievements and capacities of the Islamic Republic in the medical field ”, explained the official.

He made the remarks at the 5th International Islamic Countries Health Congress, which brought together dozens of representatives, experts, travel insiders and private investors from member states.

Held at the IRIB International Conference Center in Tehran, a three-day event aimed to find new opportunities for cooperation and health tourism development among Muslim nations, organizers said.

The congress focused on five specialized round tables on medical tourism, sports tourism, natural, wellness and gastronomic tourism, medical and laboratory equipment, and nutrition and healthy eating.

The Islamic Republic is known to the world as an affordable destination for health tourism and the government is making great efforts to attract more health tourists in the years to come. Many believe that medical tourism in the Islamic Republic is a win-win opportunity for both the country and foreign patients, as they are offered affordable but quality treatment services and the country earns considerable foreign exchange.

Health and medical tourism are of great importance to the Islamic Republic, which has set itself the goal of exceeding the number of annual medical travelers to around two million until Iranian calendar year 1404 (from January 2025).

Various Iranian cities offer a variety of medical services such as eye surgeries and services, cardiovascular surgeries, especially pediatric heart surgery, bone marrow transplantation, gynecological and obstetrical surgery, oncology services, cerebrospinal surgery , orthopedic surgery (total knee and hip prosthesis, etc.), and urological surgery, and so many other services.

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