Dubai to develop medical tourism programme

May 31, 2012

DUBAI – The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has met with private sector organisations Dubai Healthcare City Authority and Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing to discuss and develop a unified medical tourism initiative for the Emirate.

“Dubai is keen to foster the medical tourism sector and implement several new initiatives to boost medical tourism in cooperation with other government departments, the DHCA and the private healthcare sector,” said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director-general of DHA.

“We strongly believe that the private sector plays a key role in this and thus we will work with the sector and key relevant government departments, airlines and tourism companies to ensure we develop successful medical tourism initiatives for Dubai.

“The Emirate offers internationally accredited state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, has highly qualified healthcare professionals and an efficient regulatory system that ensures safe and quality healthcare as well as promotes investment in health sector.”

Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy Sector said: “Providing a world-class integrated health system and promoting Dubai as a globally recognized destination for healthcare is in line with the vision of the Dubai Health Strategy 2011-2013.

“There are several factors which make Dubai a destination of choice for medical tourism. Dubai has visitors from across the globe coming here for business, exhibitions and conferences, shopping and entertainment or on their annual family holiday.”

“Dubai is well poised to address the healthcare needs of this market as we satisfy the key criteria for healthcare that they’re looking for – large number of highly qualified medical professionals, strong private sector health infrastructure, ease of access and the added advantage of multi – lingual skills given Dubai’s diversity,” Al Jassmi added.

“Dubai has more 4,750 doctors/ physicians speaking over 40 languages. We have amongst the best tourism infrastructure in the world, and we are seeing tourism numbers growing over 10 per cent year on year. Dubai has the highest hotel occupancy in the world with the highest Rev-Par. We believe we also have the clinical expertise for certain services that can be further marketed to tourists in Dubai,” she noted.

In terms of the medical services that Dubai has on offer, Al Jassmi said, “Dubai has a number of leading world class health facilities that are well equipped for medical tourism.”

“Services could range from cardiac surgeries such as open heart surgeries and catherization procedures, minimally invasive cardiac procedures for children with congenital heart defects, knee replacement surgeries, reconstructive surgeries for injuries and burns, LASIK procedures as well as aesthetic, cosmetic and dental procedures along with wellness packages and alternative medicine.”

Al Jassmi added that Dubai has internationally accredited hospitals and several renowned specialty centres while the private hospitals and clinics have various centers of excellence for a number of specialties which are already catering to medical tourists.

She added that Dubai is already a known destination for medical tourism and over the next years the authority expects to see a rise in the number of patients from GCC countries, Mena, South Asia, Western Europe, Baltic States, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and parts of Africa.

Al Jassmi added: “In 2011, Dubai welcomed more than 9.3 million hotel guests and tourist arrivals are only expected to grow. Health tourism in the city is expected to generate Dh6.1 billion ($1.66 billion) by the end of 2012.”

“Dubai’s private sector investment in the healthcare sector has also surged 12 per cent to $8 billion in 2010-11.These figures reconfirm the Emirate’s growing demand as a medical tourism destination.

“Dubai is already known to be one of the top tourism destinations in the world. Supportive infrastructure for medical tourism exists such as airlines network, hotels, shopping centers and festivals,” Al Jassmi said.

“Moreover, the multicultural social fabric and the absence of language barriers give an opportunity for the growth of this sector. The DHA is further building its healthcare capabilities, policies and regulations to ensure that Dubai enjoys the leading position as a healthcare destination on the global medical tourism map,” she concluded.

Category: General health news

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