Strategic planning of health tourism development in Kurdistan province with emphasis on attracting health tourists in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant professor.Department of geography,pnu university,iran.


Strategic planning of health tourism development in Kurdistan province with emphasis on attracting health tourists in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Kurdistan province is one of the provinces of the country that can become an important center of health tourism in Iran due to its proximity to Iraq and Kurdistan of Iraq. Existence of numerous resources, such as the large number of patients in Kurdistan of Iraq, tourist attractions and climate of Kurdistan, low cost of medical services, equipping a number of medical centers in the province with modern medical equipment, the province's capacity for medicinal plants and the province's pristine nature. Nature therapy, cultural and linguistic homogeneity with Kurdistan of Iraq, and the training of physicians by Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences have enhanced the province's capabilities in the field of health tourism. Kurdistan, with 227 km of border with Iraq, as well as the three border cities of Baneh, Marivan and Sarvabad, has a good potential for the development of medical tourism, but nevertheless, the revenues of this province from the health tourism sector are still low and in fact despite the potential. Many of these types of tourism have not been able to play an effective role in the economic and social sustainability of the province. In this regard, the two main research questions that must be asked during the strategic planning process as follows:
1- What are the most important internal and external factors and processes affecting the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province by attracting health tourists to the Iraqi Kurdistan region?
2- What are the most effective strategies and favorable perspectives for the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province by attracting health tourists to the Kurdistan region?


The present research is applied in terms of purpose, descriptive-analytical in terms of type and a combination of documentary-survey method in terms of data collection. In order to achieve the objectives of the research and, in fact, to plan the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province by attracting health tourists from the Kurdistan of Iraq, it was necessary to form a specialized or Delphi team in the present study. In this regard, an attempt was made to form a team consisting of experts, managers and officials, local experts. In quantitative method, in the present study in the form of using Hierarchical analysis process (AHP) to determine the most desirable strategies for the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province by attracting tourists to the Kurdistan region in combination with SWOT technique in the process of strategic planning.

Results and discussion
Findings indicate that the low cost of treatment in the province, ethnic and cultural affinity, extensive socio-economic ties, the existence of ancient traditional medicine and numerous medicinal plants with healing properties and having pristine nature and numerous mineral water springs, capability Unique to other trans-provincial competitors, such as the cities of Tehran, Kermanshah, Tabriz, Urmia and even Turkey are among the strengths of tourism in the region, which if the necessary conditions and infrastructure are provided, can Help the sustainable attraction of health tourists from Iraq.
Also, the study of the weaknesses identified as the main obstacles to the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province in order to attract health tourists from the Kurdistan region of Iraq shows that the health tourism system in Kurdistan province to attract tourists from the Iraqi Kurdistan region with several challenges. In both main dimensions of supply and demand and in various components, which are necessary to develop health tourism in the province. On the other hand, opportunities and threats affecting the health tourism status of Kurdistan province, had a range of performance and impact from local to national and transnational level to understand the importance of the impact of the tourism situation of destinations from trans-regional conditions and its consideration and management .
In order to determine the most important strategies for the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province, it was determined that among the opportunities; The reason for the persistence of the exchange rate difference, among the forces, is the presence of Kowsar Hospital and private hospitals and clinics (completion of Aria Private Hospital), among the threats; The reason for the existence and emergence of powerful competitors active in the health tourism market of Kurdistan of Iraq (Tehran, Kermanshah, Tabriz, Orumieh) and among the weaknesses, the cause of weakness in management, planning and monitoring in the development of health tourism in Kurdistan, with Having the highest relative weight has the greatest impact on the four strategies adopted. These identified cases had the greatest impact and importance among their factors so that they can be confidently mentioned as key drivers or very influential factors in the development and expansion of health tourism in Kurdistan province.

The final result of the research as a future perspective for the development of health tourism in Kurdistan province By attracting tourists from the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the future, it should become a reliable and privileged center in the field of health tourism for the market of Iraq Kurdistan in the next 10 years.
A center that has the power to compete with other competitors outside the province in attracting health tourists from the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The current communication with the rival centers is coordinated and the health tourists of Kurdistan region are purposefully directed from this province to other neighboring centers if the tourist needs and interests. In this perspective, the basic principle of diversification of health tourism products was laid in order to increase the length of stay and spending of tourists. This perspective emphasizes the use of rural areas with tourism potential and health tourism in the province, and in order to achieve the principle of balance to distribute the benefits of tourism for comprehensive support, these rural areas, as a support And sub-centers that support the main centers were considered


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