Dubai to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2020
Dubai, March 24, 2014
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Monday announced its new strategy that will help the emirate bring in 500,000 medical tourists by 2020.
Announcing the roadmap, DHA director general Essa Al Maidoor said the emirate's medical tourism strategy has been designed over two phases, the first one has been chalked out until 2016 and the second until 2020.
The aim is to ensure Dubai features among the top medical tourism destinations around the world, stated Al Maidoor at a press conference held at the DHA headquarters.
"We have carefully selected health services to be promoted taking quality and prices into consideration to attract tourists to the emirate. Dubai already has several elements that make it a favourable destination for medical tourism and developing a strategy helps ensure the complete process from the time a patient visits Dubai for medical tourism right through the discharge and follow-up stage is smooth," he remarked.
"There are various stakeholders involved and this strategy will help provide a comprehensive road-map for the process," he added.
According to him, DHA is focusing on developing Dubai’s medical tourism initiatives and relying on its strengths by building a health system that supports excellence in health care with a focus on healthcare professionals, health investment and excellence in services across a diversified range of medical specialties.
Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, the director of the health regulation department and director of the medical tourism project said: "Dubai as a destination itself is unique and is unlike any other place in the world, in the manner in which it blends the East and the West, and the various leisure and entertainment options in the emirate."
Dubai, he stated, had visitors from across the globe coming here for business, exhibitions and conferences, shopping and entertainment or on their annual family holiday and has amongst the best tourism infrastructure in the world.
"More importantly, we already have a medical sector that is well regulated through the health regulation department of the DHA," stated Dr Ibrahim.
"In terms of the health sector, the number of medical facilities in Dubai is around 2,518 and more than 70 per cent of our hospitals are internationally accredited. The emirate has over 25,846 health professionals in the private sector, who speak more than 40 languages. All these factors will help drive the medical tourism initiative," he added.
DHA will focus on orthopaedic and sports medicine, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dental procedures, dermatology, preventive health check-ups and wellness and skin care services.
The target markets for this initiative will be, Russia, CIS countries and South Asia as well as neighbouring GCC countries, he stated.
On the strategy, Dr Ibrahim said it will be implemented in phases. "We began the ground work for the medical tourism initiative around the last quarter of 2012. Last year, we completed a thorough analysis of the competitiveness and prioritization of services, this included analysis of the current situation and existing gaps, medical specialties which can be highlighted, target market identification and prices benchmarking."
"In 2014 we will build on this knowledge and promote Dubai’s strengths in terms of medical tourism, we will launch a dedicated portal for medical tourism as well as brand the medical tourism initiative for Dubai and launch medical tourism packages to be promoted in target markets, " he explained.
Moving further in 2015 the DHA will build on the brand and its facilities to grow the initiative and in 2016 it will focus on sustaining the strategy as well as evaluating and monitoring it so that the further course of action can be decided.
On the potential of the sector, Dr Ibrahim said: "In 2012, the number of medical tourists that visited Dubai were 107,000 and the revenues generated were Dh652.7 million ($177.6 million). By 2016 we expect a 15 per cent jump bringing the total number of tourists to 170,000 and the revenues to Dh1.184 billion and by 2020 if we consider a 20 per cent jump, it brings the number to 500,000 tourists and revenues to Dh2.62 billion."
He pointed out that the initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative and that the private health sector as well as various government entities such as the DTCM, DED, Dubai Healthcare City Authority and General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai are working in tandem with the DHA to bring in health investments for identified priorities and to support the development of health infrastructure, including health information networks, health policies and research.-TradeArabia News Service