Dubai plans to build 22 hospitals to attract at least 500,000 medical tourists a year by 2020 and earn USD 713 million in revenue.
In a press conference held at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) headquarters, His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of the DHA, unveiled the emirate of Dubai’s medical tourism strategy.
The plan envisions building 22 hospitals in two phases in a bid to attract 500,000 medical tourists a year by 2020.
“A per the goals of the Dubai Health Sector Strategy 2013-2025, we are focusing on developing Dubai’s medical tourism initiatives and relying on Dubai’s 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,”
Al Maidoor said.
Its ambitious health strategy has two broader goals of providing world class health services to its citizens and to make Dubai a global medical tourism hub.
In 2012, Dubai attracted 107,000 tourists and generated USD 177.5 million in revenue.
By building 18 private hospitals and 4 public hospitals in the next few years, the Government plans to attract 170,000 tourists by 2016, a 15% increase over 2012, and create USD 323 million in revenue.
By 2020, it furthers expects to attract 500,000 tourists and USD 713 million in revenues.
“The aim of the strategy is to ensure Dubai features among the top medical tourism destinations around the world. We have carefully selected health services to be promoted taking quality and prices into consideration to attract tourists to the emirate,”
Al Maidoor said.
“Dubai already has several elements that make it a favorable 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. There are various stakeholders involved and this strategy will help provide a comprehensive road-map for the process.”
In late January this year, the Dubai Health Authority entered into an agreement with the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs to unify policies and processes to facilitate and support medical tourism in Dubai.
This month, the Dubai Executive Council chaired by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Council approved the plan proposed by the DHA to make many investments in health tourism.
“We already have a medical sector that is well regulated through the health regulation department of the DHA. In terms of the health sector, the number of health facilities in Dubai is around 2,518 and more than 70% of our hospitals are internationally accredited, the emirate has more than 25, 846 health professionals in the private sector, who speak more than 40 languages. All these factors will help drive the medical tourism initiative,”
said Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim, director of the medical tourism project.
Now, DHA plans to strengthen the existing medical infrastructure and build more super specialty hospitals.
It identified 7 specific areas where much of the investment will be routed to:
- Plastic surgery
- Ophthalmic surgery
- General medical checkups
- Orthopedic surgery
- Sports medicine and wellness
- Skin care services
DHA also plans to launch a dedicated portal this year to promote medical packages targeted at the above niche segments and also to brand the medical tourism initiative for Dubai.
“The packages will include visa, hotel stay and activities in Dubai,”
said Dr Ramadan Ibrahim.
“We will launch these packages by the end of the year. We are working with private healthcare facilities and have done a workshop and survey with them. There will be different categories of visas depending on the specialty of the treatment.”
“Our target markets for this initiative will be Russia, CIS countries including Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and South Asia as well as neighboring GCC countries. We have studied these markets and a majority of the medical tourists presently visit Dubai from these countries for various medical treatments. Once implementation begins, the initiative will provide a further boost to Dubai’s growing health sector,”