Health Tourism in Islamic Countries – Inauguration Speech by Dr Karbasi – Conference Secretary

In the name of Allah

Your Excellency Mr Alavi, Vice Chancellor of Astan Quds Razavi

Your Excellency Dr Mohammad Nahavandian, President, Iran Chamber of

Commerce, Industries and Mines

Honorable Ambassadors and Diplomatic Missions of Islamic Countries

Honorable delegations from different countries

Officials and dignitaries of I R Iran Ministry of Health and Medical Education,

Organization of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism,I R Iran Ministry of

Foreign Affairs and other esteemed authorities.


Ladies and Gentlemen

At the beginning I would like to welcome the honorable officials of the Islamic

Republic of Iran, honorable delegates from OIC Member Countries, Islamic

Development Bank, Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, esteemed

ambassadors ,representatives from other international organizations, scholars ,

experts and private entrepreneurs who have enriched the ” 2nd Conference of

Health Tourism in Islamic Countries” by their attendance after the successful

accomplishment of the first conference .


Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines is honored for being involved

in planning and preparations for over last few months holding several executive

and scientific committee meetings in consultation and efficient cooperation

with the Razavi Hospital,Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry ,I R Iran

Ministry of Health and Medical Education , I R Iran Organization of Cultural

Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism for collaborating to prepare the grounds to

hold such a major event.


Medical Tourism refers to the conditions where people travel to another

country to receive medical, dental and surgical care while at the same time

receiving equal to or greater care than they would have in their own country..

This type of tourism offers a unique opportunity for employers to receive

significant savings on major healthcare expenses, such as major surgeries, while

providing their employees and dependents a high level of quality of medical and

health services


Subsequently the governments support the Medical Tourism due to the fact that

it can generate billions of dollars in revenue for the tourism industry as a

majority of patients traveling to other countries for medical tourism engage

in tourism activities and bring companions with them.


Currently Over 50 countries of the world have identified health tourism

however, accreditation and measures of quality vary widely across the globe,

and there are observations and medical ethics issues regarding ways and means

of accessing medical services .


As a result , in order for the OIC member countries as one of world’s major

economic blocs it is necessary to utilize the potentials of the health tourism to

the best.


Therefore it would be necessary that during this conference due decisions be

made to use the untapped capabilities of the OIC Health and Medical tourism

by planning to mandate the Islamic Counties’ Health Tourism Association for

compilation of the accreditation measures and standards of medical centers of

Islamic countries as in this regard relevant recommendations are mostly

welcome by this conference in order to be summarized and be presented to the

next meeting of the OIC Health Ministers.


A large draw to medical travel is convenience and speed. countries that operate

poor public health-care systems are often so involved in various difficulties that

it can take considerable time to prepare medical services and urgent medical



In general terms for the tourism it would be noteworthy that worldwide,

international tourism has rebounded strongly, with international tourist

individual arrivals up 6.6% over 2009, to 940 million arrivals in 2010.

In 2010, international tourism receipts have reached US$ 919 billion worldwide,

up from US$ 851 billion in 2009, corresponding to an increase in real terms of



Over the past six decades, tourism has been becoming one of the largest and

fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Many new destinations have

emerged alongside the traditional ones of Europe and North America providing

an excellent occasion for the alternate destinations such as OIC countries to

thrive in tourism .


As growth has been particularly fast in the world’s emerging regions, the share

in international tourist arrivals received by emerging and developing economies

has steadily risen from 31% in 1990 to 47% in 2011.

Hence it is evident that the Islamic countries, enjoying diverse and pleasant

natural resorts, educated and young physicians, specialists and paramedics as

well as nurses and other medical technicians as well as producing a large

quantity of medicine can guarantee their share of the U S $ 100 b market by

alleviating bottlenecks and designing comprehensive plans for development of

Health tourism in OIC countries .


With respect to the vast natural potentials available in Islamic countries who

benefit from climatic conditions which can be efficient in corporal and spiritual

fortification and rehabilitation of the ill as well as preventing physical weakness

and disease, such as Spas and resorts with sufficient facilities for natural healing

and hydrotherapy can be considered in Islamic countries in which efforts have

to be made for their promotion.


It is a great honor for me to announce that due to the relentless and continuous

efforts made in the previous conference, its Final Declaration has been

presented to and supported during the 7th Islamic Countries Tourism Ministers

(ICTM) in Tehran in Nov 2010 where the Organization of the Islamic

Cooperation was called upon to foster and support the health tourism initiatives

of the private sector especially the Islamic Countries Health Tourism

Association (ICHTA) which is a milestone in developing the Health Tourism

Industry in the member countries.


The Secretariat of the Islamic Countries’ Health Tourism association (ICHTA)

has been established and in collaboration and consultation with the Islamic

Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) due implementations have been

made in order to establish branches of the said association in all OIC member

countries as up to now the grounds have been prepared to establish a number of

branches in some OIC member countries .


In this context it is necessary for the OIC member countries to make continuous

efforts to assist and fortify the trend of the establishment of the associations’s

branches in their respective territories for the benefit of the healthcare and

medical activities in single and collective member countries of the OIC.

During this conference , it is intended to have specialized panels on themes in

order for us to be able to benefit from the comments of experts on ways and

means of the increased development of this growing industry and take practical

steps in realization of this idea.


At this point I express my profound gratitude to H.E Dr Abdolhosseini , Head

of Mashhad Razavi Hospital, and his honorable colleagues for the warm

welcome and paramount hospitality extended to the participating delegations

and for the excellent arrangements made for the success of the conference .


It is to thank H.E Dr Mohammad Nahavandian , President ,ICCIM and

chairman of the conference , for his full support in organizing this conference.


I also express my appreciation for the efforts made by members of the policy

making council, scientific and executive committees , Mr Javad Mossadeghi, Dr

Hassan Tabatabaei and Dr Mohammad Jahangiri with whose relentless

initiatives this event was realized and hope that this conference will pave the

way for further promotion of intra OIC economic collaborations in Health

Tourism leading to creation of the Islamic Common Market and the solidarity of

the Islamic Ummah.


Thank you

Mohammad Reza Karbasi

Conference Secretary