Major investments in the healthcare sector and an easy visa regime ay help Dubai to become the global health tourism hub and attract millions of tourists to the emirate each year.
The head of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) believes that the number of medical tourists receiving treatment in the emirate has the potential to climb several millions by the end of the decade. By gaining reputation as a global medical tourism hub, the UAE could potentially earn billions of dollars annually and further develop its healthcare sector. Dubai has the potential to become a major healthcare hub as it is highly connected to all major cities of the world and is home to some of the finest hotels in the world. The emirate is also taking several steps to modernize and expand its health services in order to attract a higher number of foreign patients to the country.
To become a destination of choice for medical treatment, the emirate also announced a new three-month medical tourist visa, which can be extended twice, up to nine consecutive months. The emirate is particularly eyeing patients from the Asian and Middle East and African countries. Patients belonging to these regions may favor Dubai to get treatment because of its world-class facilities and close proximity.
Dubai is already a popular tourism destination, with the number of tourists surging by 2 million to 9.5 million between 2010 and 2012. According to DHA director general, Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, “the main challenge is to maintain it with quality – that’s what I’m aiming to have in Dubai. As it’s forming as a business hub we hope it will form as a private health [care] hub for the region.”
Figures of The Dubai Health Authority show that the number of medical tourists coming to the emirate is increasing by 10 to 15 percent each year. Further, about 15 percent of patients in Dubai Healthcare City already are medical tourists.