Development Strategy of Health Tourism in Iran

Document Type : Original Article


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

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

3 Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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

6 Department of Health Services Management, Tehran South Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Iran has considerable potentials for growth of health tourism. However, they have not been properly realized towards national development.This paper has attempted to prioritize the development strategies of health tourism in Iran which has been conducted on the hospitals of Tehran.

Methods: This study is a descriptive-analytical research. It was carried out in 2013 and the sample size was determined through snowball non-probability sampling. A questionnaire was administered to 29 participants and the development strategies were formulated by SWOT.

Results: The findings of the research showed that the weakness points of the health tourism industry override the strength points. This is while the opportunities of development are more than threats.

Conclusion: One may conclude that Iran’s health tourism is in a weakness opportunity (WO) situation and needs strategies which have been specially designed for such situations. Therefore, the improvement strategies (WO) have been located in priority for the development of health tourism in Iran. 


  1. Izadi M, Ayoubian A, Saadat SH, Zarnaq RK, Abbasi S, Moein N, et al. Medical travel: the ethical and legal challenges. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2013;1(1):23-8.
  2. Shafaghat T, Jabbari AR, Kavoosi Z, Ayoubian A, Zarchi MKR. The capabilities of Iranian hospitals in attracting medical tourists; Based on Joint Commission International: A case study of Shiraz hospitals. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2014;2(1):5-9.
  3. Hanefeld J, Smith R, Horsfall D, Lunt N. What do we know about medical tourism? A review of the literature with discussion of its implications for the UK National Health Service as an example of a public health care system. J Travel Med. 2014;21(6):410-7.
  4. Ayoubian A, Tourani S, Dehaghi ZH. Medical Tourism Attraction of Tehran Hospitals. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2014;1(2):95-8.
  5. Izadi M, Saadat SH, Ayoubian A, Dehaghi ZH, Karbasi MR, Jalali AR. Health tourism in Iran; identifying obstacles for development of this industry. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2014;1(2):89-94.
  6. Zamani-Farahani H, Henderson JC. Islamic Tourism and managing tourism development in Islamic societies: the cases of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Int J Tourism Res. 2010;12(1):79-89.
  7. Sarwar AM, Manaf NA, Omar A. Medical tourist’s perception in selecting their destination: A global perspective. Iran J Public Health. 2012;41(8):1-7.
  8. Masoud F, Alireza J, Mahmoud K, Zahra A. A systematic review of publications studies on medical tourism. J Educ Health Promot. 2013;2:51.
  9. Rokni L, Pourahmad A, Moteiey Langroudi MH, Rezaeiy Mahmoudi M, Heidarzadeh N. Appraisal the potential of central Iran, in the context of health tourism. Iran J Public Health. 2013;42(3):272-9.
  10. Hajinejad A, Eslamfard F. Formulating strategies for the development of treatment tourism in Shiraz (Iran) using a strategic planning approach (SWOT). J Rafsanjan Univ Med Sci. 2013;12(8):641-54. Persian
  11. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Joneidi, Fazel M, Hosseinpourfard MJ. Situation of health tourism in Iran; opportunity or threat. Iranian J Military Med. 2012;14(2):69-75.
  12. Tabibi SJ, Nasiripour AA, Ayubian A, Mahmoodabadi HB. The Relation between Information Mechanisms and Medical Tourist Attraction in Hospitals of Tehran, Iran. Health Info Manag. 2012;9(3):416-23. Persian
  13. Jabbari A, Ferdosi M, Keyvanara M, Agharahimi Z. Stakeholders' analysis of the medical tourism industry: development strategies in Isfahan. J Educ Health Promot. 2013;2:44.
  14. Lautier M. International trade of health services: Global trends and local impact. Health Policy. 2014;118(1):105-13.
  15. Mirfakhradini SH, Mirfakhradini F, Sadr Bafghi SM. Investigating rate of iatric tourisms’ satisfaction and prioritizing the effective factors on it via Fuzzy TOPSIS approach. J Shahid Sadoughi Univ Med Sci. 2012;20(5):668-78. Persian
  16. Ranjbarian B, Khazaee Pool J, Balooyi Jam Khane H. Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of foreign tourists in Isfahan province using Fuzzy AHP. J Tourism Develop Plan. 2012;1(1):13-34.
  17. Ferdosi M, Jabbari A, Keyvanara M, Agharahimi Z. Systematic Review of Publications on Medical Tourism. J Educ Health Promot. 2013;2:51.
  18. Jesus JE. Ethical Challenges and Considerations of Short-Term International Medical Initiatives: An Excursion to Ghana as a Case Study. Ann Emerg Med. 2010;55(1):17-22.
  19. Delgoshaei Jabbari A, Farzin MR, Sharbafchizadeh N, Tabibi SJ. Current medical tourism: A Case Study of Iran. Payesh. 2012;11(2):171-9. Persian
  20. Fatemeh Azadi, Mohammadreza Maleki, Seyed Jamaledin Tabibi, Mohammad Azmal. A Medical Tourist Perception of Iranian Hospital Quality: Limited Employee Foreign Lan-guage Skills Negatively Impact Communication. Int J Hosp Res. 2012;1(2):85-90.
  21. Khodayari Zarnagh R, Tourani S, Ghaderi A, Salehi M, Jafari H. Assessment capabilities of hospitals of tehran university in medical tourism on the patient-centered standards of  International Joint Commission. Hosp J. 2010;9(3-4):51-6. Persian
  22. Khoshmohabat H, Motamedi M, Saghafinia M, Shams A. Immigration for health care in Iran: burden or blessing? Lancet. 2014;383(9922):1039.
  23. Morovati Sharifabadi A, Asadian Ardakani F. A model for health tourism development using Fuzzy TOPSIS and interpretive structural modeling in Yazd province. Health Manag J. 2014;17(55):73-88.
  24. Hadizade Moghadam A, Zahedian Nejad MH, Ghanbarzade Miandehi R, Fakharmanesh S. Model of the factors affecting the motivation of medical tourists to enter Iran. J Business Admin Outlook. 2013;15:59-79.
  25. Ormond M. Shifting subjects of health-care: placing "medical tourism" in the context of Malaysian domestic health-care reform. Asia Pac Viewp. 2011;52(3):247-59.
  26. Aref F. Barriers to community capacity building for tourism development in communities in Shiraz, Iran. J Sustain Tourism. 2011;19(3):347-59.
  27. Tabibi SJ, Tourani S. Medical Tourism in Iran: Analysis of Opportunities and Challenges with MADM Approach. Res J Biol Sci. 2010;5(3):251-7