The tourism industry is a phenomenon that has been under the attention for a long time and with regard to the notable role that it plays in the economic dynamism of countries, it is spoken of as “invisible exports”. Experts predict that the tourism industry will become one of the most profitable industries of the world by 2020. Among all types of tourism, health tourism have witnessed a double-fold increase in comparison with other types of tourism because of its competitive potentials and advantages. Governments plan and benefit from its advantages based on the potentials of each region of their country.
According to the definition given by the World Health Organization, health tourism is the activity of “using services leading to more health and higher spirits; for instance, a 24-hours trip to bathe in hot water, be in a good weather or have medical intervention.”
It must be noted that in the 2017 biannual report of the World Economic Forum, stressing on the tourism industry as one of the more desired industries for gaining profits and entrepreneurship, Iran has been mentioned as the most inexpensive tourism destination of the world.
Having professional medical teams, high-tech clinics and medical equipment, and most importantly, low costs of treatment, Iran is the best option for health tourists in terms of economic efficiency.
According to Dr. Seyyed Hassan Qazizade Hashemi, minister of health and medical education, health tourism has a global turnover of $ 150 billion dollars and is among the highest returning investments in Iran.
Isfahan; First Hub of Health Tourism Development in Iran
With the current government coming in place, the development of the tourism industry and attracting foreign investments through this channel, it was mentioned as one of the government’s priorities to witness several activities in different fields of tourisms, especially health tourism.
Among different provinces of our country, Isfahan as one of the treatment and tourisms centers with a lot of potentials, has a notable role in attracting tourists intending to use treatment potentials. In a way that understanding the importance of this subject, with the collaboration of the ministry of health and medical education, we are witnessing the establishment of the biggest health city in Isfahan province, which in turn will provide the grounds for developing health tourism.
This national plan includes 5 stages of 33 expert clinics, 25 para-clinics, 12-story five-star hotel, a 1000-bed hospital and parking lots have been designed and the first phase became operational in the presence of the minister of health and medical education.
According to the mayor of Isfahan, this plan intends to serve patients on an international level, receiving international standards and using the most skilled national and international physicians such as Professor Samiei, the well-known neurosurgeon and will play a notable role in developing health tourism in Isfahan.
But what is the main reason behind this major investment in Isfahan province and what achievement can this province have for the health and treatment sector of the country?
“One of the main scientific criteria of Iran is the study of the medical sciences, therefore, we must try and not only prevent patients from going abroad for treatment, but attract patients from other countries, especially countries of our regions for entering Iran and utilizing national medical potentials by enhancing our standards.” Said Saeid Shirkovand, Investment Deputy of National Cultural Heritage Organization.
According to the Deputy of National Cultural Heritage Organization, today cities like Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran have been able to experience notable advancements in health tourism and we can be hopeful that by decentralizing from the capital and introducing the potentials of other regions, we will see the flourishing of other provinces of the country in health tourism and consequently, attracting foreign investments.
Tourism Industry; Isfahan Urban Brand
According to Seyyed Abdolvahab Sahlabadi, chairman of Isfahan’s Chamber of Commerce’s statement in the seminar of tourism and its impact in sustainable development, Isfahan has a very good position in health tourism and Arab and Islamic nations can be good targets for Isfahan’s health tourism industry and by correct policy-making, it can attract notable numbers of health tourists.
Also, Qasem Jabbari, chairman of the Investment and International Relations Development Support Commission of the Chamber of Commerce, stressing on the role of Isfahan in introducing the national potentials, especially in the pharmaceutical industries, believes that Isfahan province is among the top three provinces in the pharmaceutical industries of the country. Also, it has a good status in terms of the number of clinics, medical status, knowledge and equipment and can be a center for health tourism.
According to Jabbari, there are even health tourists who come to Isfahan from UK and Netherlands, but these are individual cases, whereas this can be organized and planned and increase and direct these tourists.
According to this report and with regard to the role of invisible exports in bringing investments to the country, it seems that health tourism development of the country needs a well-organized and methodological plan for becoming a global competitor. Isfahan province which was pointed out in this report as a case, is one of the provinces that can be a sustainable source of income for the country with regard to their notable potentials, especially in the health and treatment sector by different endeavors such as holding health-oriented exhibitions and attracting tourists in this field.
ISFAHANPHARMA EXPO 2018; 1st Independent Pharmaceutical Event of Isfahan
One of the main events taking place in the winter of 2018 in Isfahan, is ISFAHANPHARMA which will take place on 7-9 February 2018. ISFAHANPHARMA is an expansive exhibition in the field of pharmaceuticals and related industries, following the footsteps of IRANPHARMA, this time in Isfahan. This exhibition will be held as an interdisciplinary event and several circles from different health sectors of Isfahan will take part in this event. One of the main objectives of this important exhibition, is to decentralize pharmaceutical industries from Tehran.
With regard to the presence of the biggest herbal medicine manufacturers in Isfahan, and interdisciplinary pharmaceutical events in this province, Isfahan can be known as an important center for pharmaceutical and health activities. ISFAHANPHARMA EXPO 2018 will take through a trip to health.