An expert gathering in Van, Turkey, on Saturday discussed collaborations and exchange of studies and experiences related to health tourism between Van and the Iranian city of Maragheh in East Azarbaijan province.
Experts affiliated with Maragheh Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department and their fellows from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University discussed ways to enhance cooperation in health tourism in both cities, provincial tourism official Yaghub Talebi said on Sunday, CHTN reported.
“Both sides have good experiences in developing health tourism, and by exchanging them we can accelerate the development of this field,” the official explained.
The beneficial mineral water and spas and pleasant climate make Maragheh a considerable destination for health tourism development, he noted.
Van University’s studies in the field of medical and health tourism can provide a valuable contribution to the promotion of Maragheh’s attractions, he mentioned.
Historically speaking, Maragheh and Van have long lived in the same geographical area under the Urartu Kingdom, which has caused relations between northwestern Iran and eastern Turkey to develop over the centuries, he added.
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 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. Iran’s two most popular medical tourist cities are Tehran and Mashhad, but the coronavirus outbreak has significantly reduced the number of travelers.
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.