Ilam needs to boost medical tourism

January 11, 2022

TEHRAN – Medical tourism needs to be developed in Dehloran, the western province of Ilam, the provincial tourism chief has announced.

This region’s numerous hot mineral springs make it an ideal location for medical and health tourism, Abdolmalek Shanbehzadeh said on Monday.

Natural hot springs are one of the most beautiful and yet most amazing natural features of Dehloran that makes it a top destination for medical tourists, the official added.

People who suffer from joint pain, rheumatism, and skin disorders can benefit from these hot springs, he noted.

The Dehloran plain is best known for the excavations conducted at several prehistoric sites, which elucidated the origins and development of sedentary agricultural villages and towns in the region, and for surveys documenting the history of settlement into the modern era.

As a relatively small and remote rural area, it has always been affected by political, economic, and technological developments in the adjacent regions of Khuzestan, the Zagros Mountains, and Mesopotamia. Beginning as early as the 3rd millennium BC and throughout its subsequent history, it was under the political control of kingdoms in one or another of these regions according to Iranica Encyclopedia.

Although no cuneiform texts have been found at any of the Dehloran sites, the most prominent mound, Tepe Musiyan, is possible to be identified as ancient Urua, an Elamite city known from Mesopotamian texts.

Dehloran has been on a trade route linking the Zagros Mountains with Mesopotamia; in the 1st millennium, the route linking the Achaemenid capitals of Susa and Ecbatana passed through the region.

From the 18th century, Dehloran has been a winter resort for the local tribes.

Medical tourism in Iran

The developing health tourism industry is one of the most important fields of Iran’s travel sector, which is trying to prove its capabilities and capacities in attracting medical and health tourists to the country.

Many domestic experts believe that medical tourism in Iran is a win-win opportunity both for the country and foreign patients, as they are offered affordable yet quality treatment services and the country gains considerable foreign currency.

Iran’s two most popular medical tourist cities are Tehran and Mashhad, but the coronavirus outbreak has significantly reduced the number of travelers.

Iran is one of the major destinations for health tourism in the region, and patients with 55 different nationalities, mostly from neighboring countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan are seeking to use Iran’s services and facilities in this field.

Iranian hospitals admitted nearly 70,000 foreign patients over the Iranian calendar year 1397 (March 2018 – March 2019) and it made an economic contribution of around $1.2 billion to the country, according to the medical tourism department at the Ministry of Health.

In April 2018, the rotating presidency of the International Health Tourism Conference of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was handed to the Islamic Republic for a three-year term.

Mohammad Jahangiri who presides over a national center for developing health tourism said in May 2018 that Iran can annually earn $7 billion in medical and health tourism, though the sector now brings in only one-seventh or even lesser of the sum.

The Islamic Republic has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in the Iranian calendar year 1404.


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