(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The number of Omani nationals visiting Iran for medical tourism is on the rise with around 5,000 Omanis seeking treatment in the country every year, according to officials at the Iranian Embassy in Muscat.A third of Iranian visas issued in Muscat are for this purpose. ''We offer world class care at a fraction of the cost when compared to other destinations. GCC nationals who were previously seeking treatment in Europe, South Asia and South East Asia are being drawn to Iran,'' said Abdul Majid al Borzi, first secretary and head of media at the Iranian Embassy in Oman.''With daily flights from Muscat to Tehran, an express service at the embassy which issues visas to Omani nationals in a day or two at the most, increased interest from travel agents who specialise in medical packages and an abundance of top level medical specialists in Iran, the statistics from our visa section show a sharp increase in applications for medical reasons,'' he said, declining to provide specific figures.An international conference on medical tourism that will highlight medical facilities provided by the country will be held in Tehran later this month. ''Officials from the Omani Ministry of Health, Chamber of Commerce, and Ministry of Tourism have been invited,'' Borzi added.Mona Ershadifar, editor of IranOman.com, a website that promotes business between the two nations, echoed his views. ''We have seen a noticeable increase in Omani patients in Iran. In the past, the majority of GCC patients went to Shiraz for eye surgery as it is closer to the GCC than Tehran, but by promoting Iran's medical capabilities in different fields and our facilities for Omani patients, we have seen an increase of patients in Tehran, as well as Mashhad.''''Iranian hospitals that hold a medical tourism license from the Ministry of Health arrange airport transfers as well as accommodation. In addition, a nurse can be assigned to each patient.''Shookoofeh Dehkordi, a spokesman for the privately owned Moheb Hospital, said that in addition to the GCC, many of their patients also come from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq and India. ''Although Iranian ophthalmologists are renowned throughout the region, we also have speciality services in different fields such as cardiology, kidney transplants, urology and general surgeries.''