Published on : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The first Conference and Exhibition of Health Tourism for Economic Cooperation Organization countries has started in the Iranian northern city of Ramsar. Representatives of the health ministries as well ambassadors from 9 ECO member states, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) envoy, as well as the representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are among those participating in the three-day event.
Iran’s Vice President Masoud Soltanifar described tourism as a green and lucrative industry which expands cultural interaction among nations. The Iranian vice president said presently many health tourists travel to Iran from Central Asian and Arab countries.
Soltanifar, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), too highlighted the issue of health tourism and said Iran is seen as a major destination in this regard thanks to high-level medical services offered in the country.
In 2012, Iran hosted 200,000 health tourists, earning $1.5 billion. Up to now, many of the health tourists who come to Iran, have been from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, India and Pakistan. Medical tourists from neighboring states mostly come for transplants, ophthalmology, orthopedics and dentistry.