Dubai Medical Tourism – Medical tourists in Dubai can choose from over 30,000 healthcare professionals spread among 3,000 facilities and by 2020 these numbers are expected to grow to 40,000 healthcare professionals and 4,000 facilities. Dubai can expect at least half a million healthcare tourists to be part of the massive influx of people coming to the Emirate for Expo 2020, according to Dubai Health Authority officials and local medical professionals.
Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market, Jenny Mariam John, Development Officer for the Dubai Healthcare Authority (DHA), noted that the 500,000 dedicated medical tourists will represent only a part of the large number of people expected to have medical procedures done as part of their visit.
“We are also hoping to have people come and have medical work done as a secondary purpose, and are encouraging hotels in Dubai to keep brochures about health check-ups and aesthetic procedures,” she said. “Many of the elective procedures you can do in even a day, like a dental cleaning. That can make it a complete package of tourism with healthcare.”
John said at the moment, healthcare tourists in Dubai can choose from over 30,000 healthcare professionals spread among 3,000 facilities. By 2020, these numbers are expected to grow to 40,000 healthcare professionals and 4,000 facilities, supplemented by an online registration process.
The rise of Dubai as a destination for tourists seeking treatment has led to the rise of medical tourism facilitator companies like Salamatak, which serves to connect medical tourists from abroad with practitioners in Dubai and provide services during and after their stay. “In the past, usually patients had to go online and search for a doctor and it took a month or two,” said medical tourism facilitator Samer Mazahreh. “Many people don’t have companions so they went on their own to the doctor, there are no translators, and after they’re done they went back to their home country without any kind of support or follow-up.
“Now, within two days, medical tourists get a free medical consultation, there is price transparency, and they have someone to book their flights, their tickets, their accommodation, their airport pick-up, to go with them to the doctors and translate,” he added.
Currently, almost half of the medical tourists to Dubai come from other GCC countries or from other Middle Eastern countries. But Mazahreh said he expects an increase in medical tourists from other regions in the coming years.
“There is a huge market in Africa for medical tourism to Dubai, and since Dubai is a main tourist destination for Russians, we are seeing many more people from Russia and the CIS countries,” he said. “From a medical side, the beauty of Dubai is that it’s close, it’s safe, and all languages are spoken. There is no need to go to Europe or America, with long flight times, visa procedures and expensive prices.”
Apart from the half million tourists expected in facilities under the umbrella of the DHA, thousands more are expected to flock to Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), a sprawling 27 million square-metre medical free zone. Last year, of 1.2 million patient visits to Dubai Healthcare City, 15 per cent were medical tourists.
Dr Fatma Al Sharaf, Senior Manager for Strategy and Partner Development at DHCC, said DHCC expects an increase in “wellness tourists” in the lead-up to Expo 2020.
“We would like to maintain our current numbers with medical tourists and shift our paradigm to wellness tourists as well,” she said. “In wellness tourism, we usually target healthy people who would like to come and live a healthier lifestyle, as opposed to sick people looking for treatment. It’s a completely different target audience.”
Dr Al Sharaf noted that 85 per cent of “wellness tourists” see medical tourism as just part of their trips to Dubai, often with their families. “We’re in a great position in Dubai. We think that Dubai offers the whole family different activities and entertainment. That would not only help attract medical tourists themselves, but the entire family.”
Dubai to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2020
Dubai hopes to attract half a million medical tourists by the year 2020 as part of the ‘Dubai, a Global Destination for Medical Tourism’ project launched by His Highness Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.
The project will be implemented by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and is designed to revitalise medical tourism in the city and make Dubai a favoured destination for travellers hoping to see doctors. Shaikh Hamdan has directed the DHA to maintain a close relationship with all concerned and supportive parties involved in the project to achieve the desired objectives.
He noted that the project must be implemented in accordance with the approved timeline, and stressed that cooperation and concerted efforts of all parties will contribute to its success. He stressed that achieving the project’s goals is important given that medical tourism has become an important segment of international tourism.
The ‘Dubai Healthcare Experience Programme, DXH’ proved a comprehensive package of specialised medical services in collaboration with strategic partners that include the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai and Emirates, as well as a number of other private sector entities.
DHA has adopted a brand – suitable with Dubai’s image – for the project, and a website supported with social media channels to promote medical tourism, in collaboration with 25 healthcare facilities.
Tourists seeking treatment can use the website to learn about available medical services, which include cosmetic surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dental, treatments and specialized tests, among others. The website will also allow the tourists to purchase medical service packages from facilities in Dubai, book tickets and hotels and get a medical tourism visas as well as receive other medical and tourism information needed to plan their trip and ultimately get the treatment they need.
Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of DHA, said that the authority is up to the challenge and that it will require hard work and perseverance.
Dubai Medical & Healthcare
Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The UAE is surrounded by Oman and Saudi Arabia. Dubai is quickly gaining popularity as a Medical Tourism Destination due to its low cost, English speaking medical staff, and virtually no queues for treatments.
Dubai well known as Healthcare city, Dubai offers a myriad of first-class medical treatments including cochlear implants, diabetes treatments, orthopedics, cardiology, oncology, obesity surgery, neurology, plastic & cosmetic surgery, physical therapy, dermatology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, lung treatments, and urology. And we are proud to say that Saudi German Hospital – Dubai covers all the services for Medical Tourism healthcare or cross border tourism.
Reasons behind proliferating medical tourism in Dubai
The administration of Dubai doesn’t mind investing billions in the healthcare facility as it anticipates a bright future for Dubai medical tourism. Some of the major reasons that led to an exponential increase of tourists in this vertical may include:
- Impressive healthcare infrastructure
- Easy accessibility to hospitals via Dubai Metro
- More than 6,750 medical practitioners speaking 60 plus different languages
- Clinical expertise in offering treatment for myriad specialties
- Reasonable savings on medical bills as compared to treatment cost in US and other nations
- Acute attention to patient safety and care quality
- International standard treatment facilities
- Easy availability of hotel rooms as per the patient’s budget constraints.
Some vital stats
Dubai owns a profusion of healthcare centers and even more are in the pipeline for future. The Dubai Healthcare city alone accommodates 15% of the total patients visiting this tourist destination annually. Overall there has been an effectual increase of 10-15% per year in medical tourists, leading to an estimated contribution of US $1.6bn in the nation’s economy every year. Abiding by some more reports, as of 2012, Dubai comprised:
- 6 Public hospitals with 2307 beds
- 20 private hospitals with 1447 beds
- 23 primary healthcare centers
- 7 specialty centers
- 923 outpatient clinics
- Treatment Facilities
The treatment facilities offered in Dubai hospitals are fair enough to lure patients from across the globe to get away with their health problems. Some of the healthcare services that run high demand for medical tourism here thus include, but not limited to:
- Knee replacement
- LASIK procedures
- Dermatology and alternative medicine
- Colon Congenital Paralysis Surgery in children
- Dental procedures
- Cosmetic and aesthetic procedures
- Wellness and spa treatments
- Reconstructive surgeries for burns and accidents
- Surgeries related to Urinary Tract System malformation
Let’s have a look on the prominent hospitals existing in Dubai, followed by the nearest metro stations and the their approximate distance between from the hospital.