Iran is fast becoming a magnet for health tourism. The country hosted a record high of 600,000 health tourists during the first four months of the current Iranian year. This figure equals the total number of incoming health tourists during the last fiscal year (March 2018-19), according to deputy head of Iran Health Tourism Promotion Association of Iran Mohammad Panahi.
Medical tourism generated some $1.2 billion in revenue for Iran last year. The tourism sector is currently witnessing exponential growth. During the first four months of the Iranian calendar, the health tourism revenue has increased by up to 30%.
“The increase is largely due to the depreciation of the Iranian rial against foreign currencies. The devaluation has made traveling to Iran much cheaper”, said the Iranian official. He also noted that other factors helping draw more health tourists to Iran include the expertise of Iranian physicians and the country’s world-class medical services.
Official figures show that the tourists mainly came from Iraq, Azerbaijan, the Persian Gulf Arab states, Lebanon and Syria. Iran’s reputation for cosmetic and open heart surgeries, as well as orthopedic and female sterility treatments are among the top reasons drawing health tourists to the country. Iran is turning to the tourism sector to bolster its economy in the face of unilateral US sanctions.