Dr. Mohammad Jahangiri, Technical and Supervision Deputy of the Medical System Organization:
Dr. Mohammad Jahangiri has been a trade union activist in the field of health tourism in recent years. Jahangiri is the founder and chairman of the International Health Services Association, a trade union affiliated with the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and one of the few trade unions active in the country’s medical tourism. Jahangiri, who is in charge of the “Technical Deputy and Supervision of the Medical System Organization”, also has a good knowledge of the treatment economy and believes that after a long period of stagnation in medical tourism, a new rise should be made for marketing and gaining market share.
- In the last two years, many spaces related to health tourism, health tourism and medicine have stagnated, and as a result, many spaces that could have created a new market for Iran have been virtually blinded. Now that the spaces are a bit open and we have events like the Dubai Expo ahead of you, how much do you think this could be a potential for health tourism that can revitalize itself and have a global presence and many of the capacities that have stagnated in the last two years? Stay retrieved?
The topic you mentioned is important. The Corona pandemic created knots in health tourism that went against all plans, forecasts and expectations. Our country’s medical tourism activists and activists faced many challenges during this period. One of these challenges was that all service capacities tended to become more essential services, focusing on services related to the corona pandemic margin, and providing beauty services and generally off the agenda. The fact is that the demand for regular services is declining as the number of emergencies increases. More tolerable medical issues were generally forgotten at the time of the corona because the risk of the Corona did not allow such things to be done.
In addition, the capacity of the centers and hospitals was limited by the corona, and the same capacity could not be allocated to unnecessary hospitalizations and care. Also, travel and travel between countries and even cities in various fields (trade, etc.) was restricted all over the world, let alone in the field of health and patient transportation, where travel was also at a higher risk. All of these challenges went hand in hand so that over a two-year period, a huge amount of the initial investment of those who pioneered in the field of international health services or health tourism was not returned. As a result, we went to a serious recession in the field of health tourism. In this desperation described, the opening of borders and the holding of events such as the expo, as a golden opportunity, is very thought-provoking.
- Given that health tourism in the post-Crown era is different from before, what do you think should be the approach of health tourism activists who attend the expo to recover and develop the market?
Expo is a good space for marketing and marketing of health tourism if we are present with a ready mind and awareness of the requirements of the post-Corona era. I mean, before using any new capacity related to health tourism marketing for Iran, we must be aware that the service delivery process will be different from the pre-Corona era. This is an issue that we need to pay attention to, and very soon we need to adapt our capabilities to the requirements of the new era by following the example of the planning of the countries of the world. During this period, the strictures for incoming tourists will be more and will be subject to corona testing. It is no longer the case that everyone wanted to enter a country.
So, in the next one or two years, this path will be a different path than in the past, so we must be fully prepared to develop health tourism appropriate to the corona or so-called post-corona period; Both in terms of technology and in terms of implementation and practice. In addition, we need to know that people’s needs may have changed. Because some diseases have been neglected and not addressed. In my experience, I can say with confidence that the medical needs of the health tourist who has chosen Iran to receive medical services have changed from the past year and a half.
- Do you think that there is enough preparation among Iranian health tourism activists to show the different capacities of this field well at Expo 2020 Dubai? Given that they anticipate that the fair will have about 25 to 30 million visitors, how have Iranian medical tourism activists and relevant officials prepared themselves for this event?
In my opinion, we are not ready for this exhibition as we should and maybe. The exhibition was postponed for a year and we could not take advantage of this opportunity to encourage more groups of Iranian medical tourism activists, including hospitals, companies, agencies, etc., to participate in this important event.
I remember in 2020, the International Health Services Association and the Trade Development Organization themselves got involved in this issue and we achieved good results, but we ate the corona and then no one followed up as much. My point is that although we had a year, we did not do any activities in that one year. This is an important point in itself.
Could we sit down together in this one year and see what we want to present in the field of health tourism? What are the trends? What are the new markets? If we want to act in a pre-planned and unplanned way, we will be questioned. However, it is not too late; The golden six months of Expo 2020 Dubai are ahead of us. We have to make the most of the expo, because our tourism sector has been out of pocket for a year and a half and has no income.
We must definitely show our capacities with strength in Expo 2020 Dubai so that we can introduce many tourists to the Iranian market and thus help to generate income in this field in the future. At the Expo, we must assure the potential health tourist that if he chooses Iran, he will be on a safe path and will follow a safe path. We have to determine this route in the remaining time to start the Expo.
- You mentioned the delays that occurred; How much do you think the involvement of the private sector in this issue can make the work more agile?
I definitely appreciate the entry of the private sector into this field and the management of this field by this sector. The private sector is both more concerned with its own interests and more agile in making decisions. We hope that Sarv Bonyan Adabi Company, which is the exclusive operator of the tourism pavilion, will do a good job of informing and providing proper planning for these six months. I think the private sector is very important and the positive point is this.
- According to the news, at Expo 2020 Dubai, there are spaces for free meetings and venture capital with the presence of translators provided by the Iranian Tourism Pavilion. How do you evaluate this issue? Do you think that hospitals, agencies, hotels and health tourism companies will have a good opportunity to invest in areas such as health tourism, to present themselves there and use this international opportunity to their advantage?
Yes, Sure. The quality of our services is not comparable to the price of our services. The quality is so good that if it was offered elsewhere, high prices and costs would have to be paid for. We must first identify the dormant needs of the countries in the Persian Gulf and other surrounding countries, and then create and present a specific brand so that Iran can show its capabilities in this way. In the second stage, we must enter into negotiations with companies and representatives of the target countries, in the form of the capacity of the exhibition and tourism pavilion of Iran in the Expo.
With the right presentation, we can conclude BTB contracts in the field of international health services tourism. In addition, it is a good opportunity to update ourselves in various areas by exchanging information that takes place during in-person sessions. I hope there will be good appointments and good contracts at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Finally, the private sector should not rely on the actions of the public sector and should act comprehensively and in a principled manner, and negotiate with the most important players in Iran’s health tourism. In the field of health tourism, medical services and on the other hand, our health services are more important than others, and basically the foundation of health tourism in the world is the service chain of large clinics and hospitals with high capacity, not agencies. Now, even though we are in the medical system, in the field of health, and our hospitals are involved in all these services, you can see that they have not entered into much dialogue with these activists to participate in the expo. Our recommendation is that these sections enter into dialogue with each other as soon as possible. We may all need to get involved.
We are very tired and weak, but there is a need for this empathy and cooperation in the country to take full advantage of the expo opportunity. We need to motivate medical service actors, hospitals, and others to come to the Expo. Therefore, my initial recommendation is that Sarv Bonyan Adabi Company, which has been exclusively accepted by the parent company of Iran Tourism and Tourism and has accepted responsibility, enter into direct negotiations with the health sector and the main actors of health tourism so that we can do an honorable job in this. Present the area at the Expo.
The second argument is that we need to make the overall plan public so that people can make the right investments and show them the horizons and benefits of attending this international event. In any case, we are ready in the field of international health services. We hope to review our policies and provide a good package to provide services in the light of current world conditions.