A Study of the Effect of Advertising on Attracting Medical Tourism

Document Type : Original Article


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

2 Hospital Administration Research Center, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran

3 Faculty of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: It is predicted that tourism will be the most profitable industry in the world in 2020. The current study aimed to evaluate the influence of advertising on attracting foreign medical tourists based on the marketing mix model.
Methods: In this descriptive study, participants (n=136) completed a standard questionnaire containing items on demographic characteristics and advertising practices adopted by Mashhad hospitals (13 hospitals) to attract Arabic tourists (male-female) from seven nations in the period from March 2015 to August 2016. Data description was performed using charts and tables. The software used was spss21.
Results: The results showed that 44.1% of medical tourists were satisfied with advertising practices. In terms of education, 85 (62.8%) tourists did not have a high school diploma. Seventy-six subjects (55.9%) were referred to hospitals by friends and acquaintances, 38.2% were referred by their physicians, and only 5.9% of tourists were attracted by other advertising methods.
Conclusions: According to the results, most patients did not consider advertising strategies effective, and the advertising methods seemed to be unsuccessful in attracting people with a higher education. Therefore, it is suggested that advertising practices be revised and novel methods be adopted to appeal to a greater range of potential tourists.


  1. Tabibi SJ, Nasiripour AA, Ayubian A, Bagherian MH. The relation between information mechanisms and medical tourist attraction in hospitals of Tehran, Iran. Health Information Management. 2012; 9(3):416-423. [Persian].
  2. Ayoubian A, Tourani S, Hashemi Dehaghi Z. Medical tourism attraction of tehran hospitals. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2013;1(3):95-98.
  3. Dehdashti Shahrokh Z, Nakhaei H. An Entropy (Shannon) Based Approach for Determining Importance Weights of Influencing Factors in Selecting Medical Tourism Destinations. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2016;4(4):115-121. doi: 10.21859/ijtmgh-040406.
  4. Hosseini SM, Maher A, Safarian O, et al. Development Strategy of Health Tourism in Iran. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2015;3(4):153-158. doi: 10.20286/ijtmgh-0304143.
  5. Mousavi SM, Haghi M, Gharasi Manshadi M. Health tourism in Iran: a path towards sustainable development. Iran J Public Health. 2016;45(2):274-275.
  6. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Joneidi N, Fazel M, Hosseinpourfard MJ. Situation of health tourism in Iran opportunity or threat. J Mil Med. 2012;14(2):69-75.
  7. Ozan-Rafferty ME, Johnson JA, Shah GH, Kursun A. In the words of the medical tourist: an analysis of Internet narratives by health travelers to Turkey. J Med Internet Res. 2014;16(2):e43. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2694.
  8. Penney K, Snyder J, Crooks VA, Johnston R. Risk communication and informed consent in the medical tourism industry: a thematic content analysis of Canadian broker websites. BMC Med Ethics. 2011;12:17. doi: 10.1186/1472-6939-12-17.
  9. Rahimi Zarchi M, Jabbari A, Rahimi SH, Shafaghat T, Abbasi S. Preparation and designing a checklist for health care marketing mix, with medical tourism approach. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2013;1(4):103-108.
  10. Turner L. Canadian medical tourism companies that have exited the marketplace: Content analysis of websites used to market transnational medical travel. Global Health. 2011;7:40. doi: 10.1186/1744-8603-7-40.
  11. Crooks VA, Turner L, Snyder J, Johnston R, Kingsbury P. Promoting medical tourism to India: messages, images, and the marketing of international patient travel. Soc Sci Med. 2011;72(5):726-732. doi: 0.1016/j.socscimed.2010.12.022.
  12. Donyadideh A. The obstacles impeding the development of Irans tourism industry with emphasis on marketing. J Hosp Manage Tourism. 2013;4(3):59-68. doi: 10.5897/JHMT10.007.
  13. Azadi F, Maleki M, Tabibi SJ, Azmal M. A medical tourist perception of iranian hospital quality: limited employee foreign language skills negatively impact communication. Int J Hosp Res. 2012;1(2):85-90.
  14. Jabbari A, Rahimi Zarchi MK, Kavosi Z, Shafaghat T, Keshtkaran A. The marketing mix and development of medical tourism in shiraz. Mater Sociomed. 2013;25(1):32-36. doi:10.5455/ msm.2013.25.32-36.
  15. Taghvaei M, Goodarzi M. Developing and prioritizing the formation of strategies in medical tourism (case study: Shiraz metropolis). Research and Urban Planning. 2016;7(2):1-22.
  16. Taghizadeh Yazdi MR, Barazandeh H. Identifying and ranking health tourism development barriers in Iran using fuzzy VIKOR method. Asian Soc Sci. 2016;12(5):54. doi: 10.5539/ass.v12n5p54.
  17. Abadi FA, Sahebi I, Arab A, Alavi A, Karachi H. Application of best-worst method in evaluation of medical tourism development strategy. Decision Science Letters. 2018;7(1):77-86. doi:10.5267/j. dsl.2017.4.002.
  18. Izadi M, Saadat SH, Ayoubian A, Hashemi Dehaghi Z, Karbasi MR, Jalali AR. Health tourism in Iran; identifying obstacles for development of this industry. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2013;1(3):89-94.