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27 April 2019 - 23:19
Iran's Ardebil; the land of Heavenly Springs

Ardebil province is situated in a mountainous region. Resting in an average altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, it is usually recorded as one of the coldest cities of Iran in winter. It is famous for its attractions in Medical Tourism but is basically known as the land of Heavenly Springs.

The province attracts a very large number of visitors from across the country as well as other countries including neighboring Azerbaijan and Iraq who come to see its unique natural attractions but mainly to use its numerous fabulously comforting springs which are famous for their medical and healing effect.

Medical tourism refers to people traveling to a country other than their own to obtain medical treatment. 

According to IRNA, Iran is gradually becoming a destination for foreign medical tourists. Hospitals in Iranian cities offer medical and health care services for foreign medical tourists. 

Patients from Kuwait, Qatar and other countries prefer Iran for the medical treatment which is providing cheaper facilities than European countries.

*** Medical tourism in Iran

Iran is one of the major tourism destinations in the world and the tourists coming to Iran can also become a major source for informing the people of their countries about the advance health facilities of Iran.

Medical tourism made an economic contribution of around $1.2 billion to the country in the last Iranian calendar year (March 2017-March 2018).

According to Iran's Health Ministry, Iran attracted around 300,000 medical tourists in 2017 and the number nearly doubled over its next year.

Iran has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in [calendar year] 1404. 

The ministry believes Iran has the potential to become a top medical tourism destination in the region. Presently, though, it is among the top three leading destinations of such tourists in West Asia.

***Ardebil province & its mineral springs 

The existence of mineral springs has created a unique opportunity for the development of tourism industry in Iran, including the province of Ardabil Province.

In countries where there is only limited access to mineral waters, the establishment of health clinics has led to the prosperity of health tourism and, as a result, huge income for them, the government of Islamic Republic of Iran has tried alot to facilitate tourism opportunites for the tourists.

The city of Sarein has a world renown for its 22 waterways of mineral water as the most important water treatment center in Iran.
The warm water of this city, with its chemical, therapeutic and temperature characteristics, is one of the important factors for attracting tourists to the region.

'Meshkin Shahr' city and and the capital of Meshkin Shahr County in the northwestern Iran is also considered as the second largest city in the northern part of Ardebil due to its Hot water springs, 'Qinrjee, Shabil, Muil, Qhutur Sui, Negin Doodu, Akar Bakhar' are the most famous in this category in this city and Meshkin Shahr County.

Because of its mineral springs, Ardabil province has become known as the land of Heavenly Fountains.

*** Obstacles and problems 

According to Hashemzadeh head of Medical Tourism Department at the Ministry of Health, the biggest problem of medical tourism in the country are brokers who provide services to the medical travelers without having required licenses.

Using digital platforms is one way of solving this issue, he said, adding that the hospitals and foreign patients must be able to communicate as directly as possible. For example, if the health centers’ websites clearly explain their types of services and their cost, the brokers’ activity will be automatically reduced.

“Currently, we are trying to develop a set of principles for facilitator companies, active in the field of medical tourism and if the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization help us, the principles will be carried out more extensively.” He further remarked. 

In May 2018, Mohammad Jahangiri who presides over a national center for developing health tourism said that Iran has the capacity to annually earn $7 billion in medical and health tourism, though the sector now brings in only one-seventh or even lesser of the sum. 

News Code 190227

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