TEHRAN – The 17th International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition in Tehran aims to promote traditional Iranian medicine to boost medical tourism in Iran.
The 17th Iran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition 2024 is scheduled to take place at the Tehran International Permanent Fairground from February 12th to 15th, 2024. Representatives from 11 countries are expected to attend, with the Secretary-General of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization as a special guest.
This exhibition is considered Iran’s premier tourism industry event, given the country’s regional prominence in the health sector, evolving into a hub for medical tourism. The Office of Persian and Complementary Medicine at the Iranian Ministry of Health is actively participating to attract health-conscious tourists interested in traditional medicine.
The Director-General of the Office of Persian and Complementary Medicine, highlighting Iran’s unique capabilities in traditional medicine and herbal remedies, stated, “Leveraging the tourism potential of Iranian medicine, recommendations for lifestyle, coping with various climates (deserts, forests, seas, etc.), and strategies for health preservation and improvement, alongside simple and effective treatment methods, will be culturally presented to tourists through Iranian medical tourism.”
Nafiseh Hosseini-Yekta added, “The diverse climates in Iran, including mountains, deserts, and salt lakes, offer enormous capabilities for preventing and aiding in the treatment of diseases based on the principles of Persian medicine. The capacities of Persian medicine in the tourism industry can play a significant economic role for the country. Furthermore, the development of health villages and towns using the capacities and teachings of Persian medicine would be highly effective in health economics and revenue generation.
Hosseini-Yekta emphasized that this emerging industry holds numerous benefits for the country, including job creation, economic prosperity, promoting the culture of Persian medicine, and enhancing public health.
She underscored: “Persian medicine, as a component of Iran’s culture and civilization, can act as a driving and effective force for cultural variables.”
Hosseini-Yekta addressed challenges facing Iranian medical tourism, stating: “Lack of necessary equipment and infrastructure in centers providing Iranian medical services, a shortage of specialized tourism companies active in Iranian medical tourism, insufficient international introduction and advertising of the capacities of Iranian medical tourism, a shortage of specialists in Iranian medicine, a lack of sufficient training for service providers in medical tourism, and a lack of justification for activists and enthusiasts of medical tourism regarding the capacities of Iranian medical tourism are some challenges facing this industry.”
Hosseini-Yekta, emphasizing that overcoming these challenges requires cooperation and synergy between various government and private agencies, the medical community, and specialists in traditional medicine, stated: “By addressing these challenges and with proper planning and policymaking, we can witness the prosperity of Iranian medical tourism in Iran and benefit from its economic and social advantages.”
She highlighted that this exhibition provides a suitable opportunity for introducing and promoting this emerging industry to tourism industry professionals and the general public.
Iranian traditional medicine strongly focuses on prioritizing health maintenance and disease prevention over treatment. It is one of the most ancient forms of traditional medicine, grounded in the concept of the four senses of humor: phlegm (Balgham), blood (Dam), yellow bile (Safra’), and black bile (Sauda’). This concept is based on the teachings of Rhazes and Avicenna in an elaborate medical system.
Experts say medical tourism in Iran is a win-win opportunity for both the country and foreign patients, offering affordable yet quality treatment services while the country gains considerable foreign currency.