Health Tourism in Iran; Identifying Obstacles for Development of This Industry


1 Health Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Hospital Management Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Eye Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Director General Islamic Chamber ICCIMA, Tehran, Iran

6 Trauma Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Medical tourism plays an important role in national revenue of many countries; This industry earns about 100 billion dollars for the governments each year. However, Tourism is not developed in Iran and it is in its initial paces. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Health recognized tourism-therapy in 2003. In addition, by doing this, rather than supporting tourism-therapy, the ministry mainly tried to create new jobs for the graduates of medical sciences. However, tourism-therapy was introduced as an independent industry in 2004 by the merger The Cultural Heritage Organization to The Iran and World Tourism. According to the planning, the Iranian government has devised plans to cover 30% of medical and health needs of the country, by the end of 4th national development program, through exporting medical products and services. Therefore, determining the obstacles in the way of optimum development of tourism-therapy industry is of great help to the country.


1. Goeldner C.R.Ritchie J.R.B. Tourism: Principles, Practices, Philosophies. 9th ed.NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2003.

2. Garrod B. Local participation in the planning and management of ecotourism: a revised modelapproach. Journal of Ecotourism. 2003; 2(1): 33-53.

3. Izadi M, Joneidi N, Ranjbar R, Ayoobian A. Health tourism in Iran: Competitive advantage factor. Tehran; Asia Pacific Travel Health Conference, 2012.

4. Alvani S. Pirouzbakht M. Tourism Management Process., Tehran; Cultural Research Office, 2006.

5. World Tourism Organization Network. Available at:

6. Janson Y, Sim S, Nelson N. Medical tourism: The Asian chapter. Available at: Http://, Accessed 27 June 2008.

7. Garcia-Altes A. The development of health tourism services. Annals of Tourism Research 2005; 32: 262.

8. Mardani M. Tourism Management, Principles, Foundations, and Applied Concepts. Astan Ghods Publication 2006, 1st ed., pp. 2-13

9. Jabbari A. Designing a Model for Iran Medical Tourism [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management and Medical Information, Iran University Medical Sciences; 2009.

10 .Khodayari R. Readiness of Hospitals of Tehran University of Medical Science to Attract Medical Tourists base on International Joint Commission Standards [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management and Medical Information, Tehran University of Medical Science; 2010.

11. Ayoubian A. Relationship of Information Mechanisms and Medical Tourists Attraction in Hospitals of Tehran City  [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management and Economic, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch of Tehran; 2011.

12. Heng Leng C. Medical tourism in Malaysia: international movement of health care consumers andthe commodification of health care. Asia Research Institute of National University of Singapore; Working paper, 2007.

13. Delgoshaie B, Jabari A.R, Farzin m.R, Sherbafchizadeh N, Tabibi S.J. Current statusof medicaltourism: A Case Study of Iran. Payesh Journal 2012; 11(2): 171-179.

14. Connell J. Medical Tourism: Sun, Sea, Sand & … Surgery [Thesis]. Australia: Tourism Management School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, NSW; 2006.

15. UNESCAP(United National Economic,Social,Commission For Asia And Pacific),Patient Without Borders:An Overview Of The Medical Travel Industry In Asia,Its Challenges And Opportunities,Bangkok.[online]. UNESCAP. 2007,1- 44. Available at: gdpaper%5BFIN%5D021007.pdf [Accessed Nov 2009]

16. Baliga H. Medical tourism is the new wave of outsourcing from India. India Daily 2006 Dec 23. Available at: Accessed September 20, 2007

17. Tullao TS, Cortez MA. Development of a private sector framework for ASEAN trade negotiations: Health care sector [Online]. 2006; Available from: URL:Http://

18. Taghizadi Rahimi D. Approaches to Develop Billion and Biotourism in Gheshm Island using SWOT model; Articles in 7th National Conference of Persian Gulf, 28th of April-1st of May 2011: 241-261

19. Porter EM, Vera MD, Huang B, Khan O, Qin Z, Tan A. Medical tourism in the Philippines, 2008. Singh G. Medical tourism in India: strategy for its development. Indian institute of management:Banglore, 2003.

20. Cohen E. Medical tourism in Thailand [Online]. Department of Sociology & Anthropology, the HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem. 2008; Available from: URL:

21. Faghri R. Tourism planning and policy making of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Analysis of the four five- year development plans. [Thesis]. Lulea University of Technology, Department of business Administration and social Sciences. December 2007. 

22. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Jineidi N, Fazel M, Hoseinpourfard M.J. Situation of health tourism in Iran; opportunity or threat. Iranian Journal of Military Medicine 2012; 14(2): 69-75.

23. Kalshrtti P, Pillai D. Tourism products development and management medical tourism-A Shifting Paradigm. Proceedings of the 1st Conference on tourism in India -Challenges Ahead,Kerala, India,May 2008, Pp:15-17.

24. Mohesni R.A. Permanent Tourism in Iran, Applications and Challenges and Solutions, Research Science Magazine of Geographical Space 2009; 28:149-171.

25. Cortez N. Patients without Borders: The Emerging Global Market for Patients and the Evolution of Modern Health Care. Indiana Law Journal 2008; 83(24). Availbale from: URL:

26. Armaghan S. Tourism and its Role in Geography. [Thesis]. Tehran: Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr Branch, 2007.

27. Madhoushi M, Naserpour N. Evaluation of the Challenges Ahead of Tourism in Lorestan Province. Journal of Business Research 2003; 28: 25-58.

28. MasoumiM.The Nature of Tourism:Economic,Cultural,Social,Environmental, Political Dimensions Of Tourism.Tehran:Peyk Cousar Publication.2005.

29. [homepage on the Internet]. Fourth development economic, social and cultural plan. Tehran: c2000 [updatedSep 2007]. Available from:

30. Leiper N.Tourism Management. Melborne: RMTT Press.1995.

31. Salim Pour H, Tajor M, Arab M. Medical records of exports of goods and services abroad. J Health Homa 2003;2(17):7-9.

32. Monica H, Yu-Feng H. Thailand medical tourism cluster [Online]. 2006 [cited 2006 May 5]; Available from: URL: Thailand-medical-tourism/

33. Mehrabi J, Khalil S, Khalfi A. Surveying the Obstacles Ahead of Tourism Development in Iran.Journal of Development and Evolution Management 2012;9: 1-10

34. Zarrilli S. Identifying a trade-negotiating agenda. In: Drager N, Vieira C, Editors. Trade in Health Services:Global, Regional, And Country Perspectives. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, Program onPublic Policy and Health, Division of Health and Human Development, 2002. p. 71-8.

35. Heng Leng C. Medical tourism in Malaysia: international movement of health care consumers and the commoditization of health care. Asia Research Institute of National University of Singapore; Working paper, 2007.

36. Gonzales A, Brenzel L, Sancho J. Health tourism and related services: Carribbean development and international trade. Regional Negotiating Machinery, 2001

37. Naseri M. The Effective Challenges Ahead of Tourism in Iran and A Model for Development and Tourist Attraction, an M.A thesis, Tehran, Tarbiat Modares University; 1996.

38. Mohesni R.A. Permanent Tourism in Iran, Applications and Challenges and Solutions, Research Science Magazine of Geographical Space 2009; 28:149-171.

39. Jahani M.A. The Designation Of Globalization Pattern Of Hospitals Services In Iran. Dissertation of Health care Management. Tehran,Science And Research Branch, Islamic Azad University:2008.

40. Madhoshi M, Naserpour N. Surveying the Obstacles Ahead of Tourism Development in Lorestan. Iranian Journal of Trade Studies2003; 28: 13-25.

41. Leiper N. Tourism Management. Melborne: RMTT Press. 1995.

42. Tabibi SJ, Nasiripour A.A, Ayubian A, Bagherian Mahmoodabadi H. TheRelation between InformationMechanisms and Medical Tourist Attraction in Hospitals of Tehran, Iran. Health Information Management2012; 9(3): 423.

43. Iran Tourism Research and Studies Center. A report by the EU commission, European Parliament, Economic and Social Committee, and European Regions Committee on effective measure of the European Society on Tourism, 1996.

44. Afshani A. Public Relations Role in the Development of Health Tourism, Uromie. Proceedings of the 3rdinternational conference on regional health services in Iran; 2009 Nov 13-14; 2009.

45. Dibaie P. Understanding Tourism [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management, Allameh Tabatabaie; 1993.

46. Ghalami S. Investigate ways to improve Iran's position in the market for health services and medical tourism attraction [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management, Tarbiat Modares University; 2010.

47. Erfan Nia M. Comparative study of information systems in selected countries and provide a solution for medical tourism in Iran [dissertation]. Tehran: Tehran University of Medical Sciences; 2010.

48. Martin DS, Ramamonjiarivelo Z, Martin WS. MEDTOUR: a scale for measuring medical tourism intentions. Tourism Review 2013; 66(1-2): 45-56.

49. JabarriA.The Designation of Pattern for Medical Tourism in Iran.Dissertation of Health care Management. Tehran,Faculty Of Managemen,Medical Science Of Iran University:2008.

50. Jabbari A.L, Rahimi Zarchi M.K, Kavosi Z, Shafaghat T, Keshtkaran A. The Marketing Mix and Development of Medical Tourism in Shiraz. Mat Soc Med 2013; 25(1): 32-36.