Health Tourism: Opportunities, Constraints, Obstacles and Solutions

Authors

1 Department of Health Services Management, Tehran North Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, IR Iran

2 Health Management Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Department of Health Services Management, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran


Tourism is an economic activity which, because of its special features, creates the possibility of using natural resources for all nations of the world, regardless of their level of development [1]. In the industry classification, tourism is the third largest industry in the world after the oil and automobile industries. According to a UN report, one of the most important tools of economic development and income generation is the tourism industry. Statistics indicate that 750,000 American tourists have traveled outside their country to receive medical treatment. Other statistics show that about 40 percent of the health sector income is obtained from health tourism, and statistical estimates represent that the income earned from health tourism in the world will be a trillion, five hundred and ninety million dollars in 2020 [2]. Recently, health tourism in its three forms of wellness tourism, medical tourism, and curative tourism has become very popular for various reasons, including the high costs of living in industrialized countries, the considerable and high time of responsiveness and accountability of these countries' healthcare systems, and the existence of rich natural resources in other countries [3]. Compared with other countries in the region, Iran can become a country suitable for health tourism, because it has high ecological diversity and the nature of the four seasons, rich and abundant natural resources, mineral water springs, skilled and experienced physicians and nurses, and affordable and low cost healthcare services... (Read more...)

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