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.Â 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 provinceâ€™s medical tourism policy.