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Health Tourism and Public Diplomacy

  • 06 February 2017
  • 16:19
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Health Tourism and Public Diplomacy
“Health issues cut across the political spectrum and health tourism is an important element in promoting public diplomacy.”Dr. Zali remarked.



The Second International Congress on Development of Economic Relations in the Field of Health with a Focus on Islamic Countries will be held on 23-25 February 2017 in Tehran at IRIB International Conference Center.


There is a growing demand for health services worldwide resulting in new healthcare customers who seek cheaper treatment alternatives in developing countries. The global health tourism market is worth $60 billion and is growing 20% each year. It is estimated that the market reach approximately $99.3 billion by 2025. The growth of health tourism has considerably influenced the global healthcare and financial, social, industrial and environmental sectors as well as healthcare system of the host country. Traveling to other countries for healthcare has historical roots. Few decades ago, traveling of affluent people to developed countries to receive medical treatment was the custom. However, nowadays the direction of health customers is changing towards developing countries. There is growing number of tourists who consider benefiting from affordable and high quality medical treatment of developing countries while they are on vacation.


In the press briefing of the upcoming congress, Dr. Zali highlighted the importance of health tourism in public diplomacy and said:”Health issues cut across the political spectrum and health tourism is an important element in promoting public diplomacy. Health tourism is considered as transnational relations that wields considerable influence across borders and affords exceptional opportunities for public diplomacy.”


“Iran has made big strides in healthcare over the past decades and has established the highest possible standards of care and practice nationwide.”He added.


The President of Iranian Medical Council emphasized that for providing the high-quality and excellent medical services for medical tourists and making Iran the health tourism hub in our region, healthcare infrastructure and facilities should keep pace with the economy growth and health providers should keep abreast of the latest developments in medicine. “The former needs concrete thinking verses abstract thinking and fostering convergence in all related organizations to integrate and interconnect the expertise as well as resources.” Dr. Zali noted.


“Meanwhile Muslim travelers have emerged as an attractive customer segment accounting for 11% of global outbound spend on travel and tourism in 2014 according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2015/16 report. That is why tourism service providers worldwide are actively seeking to address Muslim tourists’ needs. Iran, as an Islamic country that shares the same morals and virtues with Muslims around the globe can rise as the main destination of Muslim health tourists.” IRIMC President remarked.      


For more information about the congress, please click here.


Dr. Shima Naghavi, Director of International Affairs

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