Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

An analysis of competitive situation medical tourism industry: a case study in northwest Iran

  • Khalil Momeni ,
  • Ali Janati ,
  • Ali Imani ,
  • Rahim Khodayari-Zarnaq ,
  • Morteza Arab-Zozani ,


Background: Medical tourism is a relatively new concept where patients travel to a foreign destination to obtain quality medical treatments which much better or comparable and also available at a significantly lower cost.  Though, a number of literature available with regard to the tourism industry and the competitiveness of the destination for medical tourists are hardly focused specifically in Northwest Iran.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to determine the competitive status of East Azerbaijan province medical tourism industry.

Materials and Method: It was a qualitative study which conducted in-depth interviews with 15 key stakeholders of the tourism industry in East Azerbaijan Province (North-West of Iran). Purposive sampling technique was used and the data analyzed by using framework analysis based on Porter's diamond model.

Results: In the factory conditions, there are 8 sub-themes such as political and ideological attitudes, similarities of language, culture, restrictions on communication skills, and tourist attractions. In the demand conditions, there is fame of the physicians and the waiting time for receiving medical treatment. In the strategy for structure and rivalry, 7 sub-themes are included such as lack of hospitals approved by JCI, affordability of medical and tourism service prices, inefficient advertising system, and the strengthening medical tourism infrastructure in neighboring countries. Others regarding with supporting industries are poor tourism infrastructure, inadequate support of private sector, poor transfer of medical tourists, and Visa facilitation services.

Conclusion: Long-term planning and involvement of private sector in strengthening the tourism infrastructure should be put at agenda in terms of making province’s medical tourism policy.


  1. UNWTO. Technical manual no. 2: Collection of tourism expenditure statistics. World Tourism Organisation Madrid. 1995; 1-15
  2. Cohen IG. Medical tourism: The view from ten thousand feet. Hastings Center Report. 2010; 40(2):11-2.
  3. Connell J. Medical tourism: Sea, sun, sand and… surgery. Tourism management. 2006;27(6):1093-100.
  4. Peeters T, Matheson V, Szymanski S. Tourism and the 2010 World Cup: Lessons for developing countries. J Afr Econ. 2014; 23(2): 290-320.
  5. Zaman K, Shahbaz M, Loganathan N, Raza SA. Tourism development, energy consumption and Environmental Kuznets Curve: Trivariate analysis in the panel of developed and developing countries. Tourism Management. 2016; 54:275-83.
  6. Horowitz MD, Rosensweig JA, Jones CA. Medical tourism: globalization of the healthcare marketplace. Med Gen Med. 2007; 9(4):33
  7. Rosensweig JA. Medical tourism–health care in the global economy. 2007.
  8. Herrick DM. Medical tourism: Global competition in health care. National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), Policy Report. 2007; 304:19-20.
  9. Sadr Momtaz N, Agharahimi Z. Medical Tourism Industry in Iran: Strategies for Development. Health Information Management. 2011; 7 (Special Issue): 524
  10. Ricafort KMF. A study of influencing factors that lead Medical tourists to choose Thailand Hospitals as medical tourism destination: Webster University; 2011; 1-117
  11. Bayati SH, M. Ismaili, T. Abhari, Sh. , editor " examination Iran's position on medical tourism in the countries of the Persian Gulf ". First International Conference on Tourism Management and Sustainable Development; October 2011.; Marv Dasht Islamic Azad University.
  12. Organization WT. UNWTO annual report 2012. UNWTO Madrid; 2013.
  13. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Joneidi N, Fazel M, Hosseinpourfard M. Situation of health tourism in Iran opportunity or threat. Journal Mil Med. 2012; 14(2):69-75.
  14. Moghimehfar F, Nasr-Esfahani MH. Decisive factors in medical tourism destination choice: A case study of Isfahan, Iran and fertility treatments. Tourism Management. 2011; 32(6):1431-4.
  15. Maboodi MT, Hakimi H. Determinant Factors on Medical Tourism (Case Study: Iran).Tourism Planning and Development. 2016; 15(4):80-106.
  16. Jabbari A. Designing a model for Iran medical tourism [Thesis]. Tehran: School of Management and Medical Information. Iran University of Medical Sciences. 2009.
  17. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Joneidi N, Fazel M, Hosseinpourfard M. Situation of health tourism in Iran; opportunity or threat. Journal of Military Medicine. 2012; 14(2):69-75.
  18. Tourani S, Tabibi SJ, Tofighi S, Shaarbafchi Zadeh N. Medical Tourism in Iran: Analysis of Opportunities and Challenges with MADM Approach. Res J Biol Sci. 2010; 5(3):251-57.
  19. Jabbari A, Delgoshaei B, Mardani R, Tabibi SJ. Medical tourism in Iran: Issues and challenges. Journal of Education and Health Promotion. 2012; 1:39
  20. Smit A. The competitive advantage of nations: is Porter’s Diamond Framework a new theory that explains the international competitiveness of countries? Southern African Business Review. 2010; 14(1): 105-130
  21. Riasi A. Competitive advantages of shadow banking industry: An analysis using Porter diamond model. Business Management and Strategy. 2015; 6(2): 15-27.
  22. Delgoshaie B, Jabbari A, Farzin M, Sherbafchizadeh N, Tabibi SJ. Current situation of medical tourism in Iran: A case study. Payesh J. 2012; 11(2): 157-65.
  23. Fischer CT. Bracketing in qualitative research: Conceptual and practical matters. Psychotherapy Research. 2009; 19(4-5):583-90.
  24. Heung VC, Kucukusta D, Song H. Medical tourism development in Hong Kong: An assessment of the barriers. Tourism Management. 2011; 32(5):995-1005.
  25. Hanefeld J, Lunt N, Smith R, Horsfall D. Why do medical tourists travel to where they do? The role of networks in determining medical travel. Social Science & Medicine. 2015 ;124:356-63.
  26. Connell J. Contemporary medical tourism: Conceptualisation, culture and commodification. Tourism Management. 2013; 34:1-13.
  27. Haque A. Factors affecting the attractiveness of medical tourism destination: an empirical study on India. Iranian Journal Public Health. 2014; 43(7):867-76.
  28. Yeoh E, Othman K, Ahmad H. Understanding medical tourists: Word-of-mouth and viral marketing as potent marketing tools. Tourism Management. 2013; 34:196-201.
  29. Sharma A. Medical tourism: emerging challenges and future prospects. International Journal of Business and Management Invention. 2013; 2(1):21-9.
  30. Izadi M, Ayoobian A, Nasiri T, Joneidi N, Fazel M, Hosseinpourfard M. Situation of health tourism in Iran opportunity or threat. Journal of Millitary Medicine. 2012; 14(2):69-75.
  31. Taylan Dortyol I, Varinli I, Kitapci O. How do international tourists perceive hotel quality? An exploratory study of service quality in Antalya tourism region. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 2014; 26(3):470-95.
  32. Wong KM, Velasamy P, Arshad TNT, editors. Medical tourism destination SWOT analysis: A case study of Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and India. SHS Web of Conferences; 2014: EDP Sciences.
  33. Yu JY, Ko TG. A cross-cultural study of perceptions of medical tourism among Chinese, Japanese and Korean tourists in Korea. Tourism Management. 2012; 33(1):80-8.
  34. Runnels V, Carrera P. Why do patients engage in medical tourism? Maturitas. 2012; 73(4):300-4.
  35. Omay EGG, Cengiz E. Health Tourism in Turkey: Opportunities and Threats. Mediterranean journal of social sciences. 2013; 4(10):424.
  36. Abd Manaf NH, Hussin H, Jahn Kassim PN, Alavi R, Dahari Z. Country perspective on medical tourism: the Malaysian experience. Leadership in Health Services. 2015; 28(1):43-56.
  37. Carlisle S, Kunc M, Jones E, Tiffin S. Supporting innovation for tourism development through multi-stakeholder approaches: Experiences from Africa. Tourism Management. 2013; 35:59-69.
  38. Casey V, Crooks VA, Snyder J, Turner L. Knowledge brokers, companions, and navigators: a qualitative examination of informal caregivers’ roles in medical tourism. International journal for equity in health. 2013; 12(1):94.
  39. Pocock NS, Phua KH. Medical tourism and policy implications for health systems: a conceptual framework from a comparative study of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Globalization and health. 2011; 7(1):12.
  40. KHodayari-Zarnagh R., S. Tourani, A. Qaderi, M. Salehi, and H. Jafari. Readiness of teaching hospitals in attracting medical tourists based on joint commission international standards. JQUMS. 2013; 17(1):49-54.

How to Cite

Momeni, K., Janati, A., Imani, A., Khodayari-Zarnaq, R., & Arab-Zozani, M. (2017). An analysis of competitive situation medical tourism industry: a case study in northwest Iran. Bali Medical Journal, 6(2), 279–288.




Search Panel