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Nowadays, medical tourism is growing in popularity turning into a global tendency of the modern tourism industry. The number of patients struggling to afford or find the right treatment overseas is booming, with many countries seeking to offer high-quality health care at a good price.
The 2015 data shows that about 100 million of 1 billion tourists in the world traveled abroad to make use of medical tourism services.
The rise of medical tourism over the past years, has given the Azerbaijani tourism industry a wakeup call to start making active efforts to revive the sector.
Sunny Azerbaijan, enjoying natural medical resources such as mineral waters and various types of oil and volcanic muds, can be an ideal place for an amazing adventure, extraordinary holiday, and useful treatment for strengthening health.
The country’s authorities began to research the natural medical resources located in various parts of the country, and established several resorts networks already in the second half of the 20th century.
Today, the country offers a number of resorts, sanatoriums and hotels for climatic, balneal, mud therapy and numerous salt caves. Not just local tourists but even international tourists take thermal spa holidays or health-related trips to Azerbaijan.
The medical tourism is very profitable, since health tourism is relevant all year round. The welcoming of a new face of tourism will open up plenty of opportunities to tourism industry professionals and allied businesses, experts believe. Medical tourists have higher average expenditures as compared to regular tourists and they spend more time in the country.
Ruslan Guliyev, the head of the Medical Support and the Thermal Tourism Association of Azerbaijan claims that the medical tourism is one of the most promising directions for development of the domestic tourism.
The expert underlined the necessity to develop this kind of tourism, since Azerbaijan has large reserves of mineral water, therapeutic mud, and well-known Naftalan, crude oil, renowned for its curative properties.
“Health centers such as Naftalan, Duzdag, Istisu, Qalaalti have been very popular since the Soviet period, and were visited by many Soviet republics. Today, tourists continue to visit these places for health purposes,” he said.
The medical tourism in Azerbaijan has been noticeably improved after the adoption of the state program on development of resorts in 2008-2009. To boost the sector, there was established the
Association to support the health and thermal tourism in Azerbaijan, as well as modern medical and health centers were opened in Baku, Naftalan, Nakhchivan and other regions of the country.
Just to name a few one can show Galaalti, Istisu and Naftalan. Here tourists can spend some time away from home to relax, improve physical and mental well-being, and look for therapies at spas, wellness resorts and hotels.
For centuries the country was known as the land of healing oil exported like rare medicine via the Silk Road. Naftalan oil popularized Azerbaijan long before the oil boom that made Baku world famous in the 19th century. Along with the oil exploitation that started in Baku, industrial exploitation and processing of Naftalan oil began, making it famous in the West.
Its medicinal uses are very wide and it is used to treat over 70 illnesses and known as “a marvelous ointment treating skin diseases”.
Istisu or “Hot Water” located in Masalli, a beautiful and unique city is another healing water of thousands diseases. The water, coming from the bowels of the earth at a depth of 90-250 meters is rich with hydrogen sulphide, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium hydrocarbons, and iodine.
The marvelous Istisu spring helps people to cope with diseases such as rheumatism and its adverse effects, skin diseases, kidney and urinary tract problems, radiculitis, prostate hypertrophy, liver disease, biliary tract problems, infertility, gastro-intestinal diseases, traumatic injuries, etc.
For treatment the patients with respiratory problems should certainly visit Duzdag salt caves in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Azerbaijan’s nature, cuisine and lifestyle are noteworthy, as here medical tourists can combine their trip with holiday in their favorite destination in Caucasus Mountains. The country’s mild climate with the breathtaking landscape including forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls will not leave anyone indifferent.
2016.03.30 / 17:31