close-quote
     
Lonsdale & Associates
Get a Quote

Dubai Emerges as Medical Tourism Hub

500,000 EXPECTED THIS YEAR, WITH FIRST SIX MONTHS SEEING 260,000 VISITORS
 
 
Gulf News
8 Oct 2015
By SARAH ALGETHAMI | Staff Reporter
 
 
The number of medical tourists in Dubai is expected to reach around 500,000 this year, nearly doubling the figure achieved in the first six months, according to a government official.
 
The forecast looks at tourists staying in 1,400 health care facilities, although the emirate has around 2,900. Tourists are likely to come from within the UAE and other markets including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Asia and Europe, Dr Laila Mohammad Al Marzouqi, director of the health regulation department at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said on the sidelines of the International Medical travel Conference and Exhibition in Dubai yesterday.
 
 
She did not give a forecast for the medical tourism revenue for the year.
 
 
Dubai received 260,000 medical tourists in the first half of 2015, up 12 per cent from the same period a year ago, and generated Dh1 billion in revenue during the period. Asian tourists accounted for 33 per cent of the total, followed by visitors from Europe with 27 per cent and GCC and other Arab countries with 23 per cent.
 
 
Dubai aims to increase the number of medical tourists by around 12 per cent annually to “more than 500,000” and generate Dh2.6 billion in revenue by 2020, said Linda Abdullah Ali, head of the medical tourism office at the health regulation department of the DHA.
 
 
Dubai had set a target last year to welcome 500,000 medical tourists by 2020, but it will now exceed it by 12-13 per cent, she added.
 
 
The emirate aims to achieve its 2020 target by continuing to promote Dubai as a medical tourism destination to markets like the GCC, Africa, Asia and the UK, and offer medical tourism packages, according to Ali.
 
 
Medical tourists travel to Dubai for a range of treatments, such as plastic surgery and orthopaedic and infertility treatments. Orthopaedic treatments have been the most profitable this year, according to Al Marzouqi.
 
 
The tourists come on a three-month medical tourism visa, which can be renewed for another three months.