The Dubai Medical Tourism industry generated more than Dh1.4billion for the emirate in 2016. The city received 326,649 medical tourists, representing an increase of 9.5% over the previous year.
The most popular areas of treatment for medical tourists last year was orthopaedics, dermatology and ophthalmology. In 2016, the largest market for the emirate was Asian medical tourists, who accounted for 37 per cent of visitors. Arab and GCC countries were the second largest market, accounting for 31 per cent of tourists and visitors from Europe amounted to 15 per cent of the total.
Director of the Dubai Medical Tourism Project, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dr Layla Al Marzouqi says that the strategy for attracting more medical tourists goes beyond just figures and that DHA is targeting partnerships with private entities. “Besides targeting growth in numbers we are also concentrating our efforts in enhancing our partner portfolio. We have recently included regions first holistic health and wellness resort in our portfolio. This will provide the health tourist a unique opportunity to avail the complete wellness offering in Dubai,” she says. We have also partnered with Health Bank in a strategic initiative to enhancing the customer experience by offering end-to-end services right from research of doctors and health facilities to treatment, accommodation, translator services and post-treatment follow-up.”
In a bid to strengthen their position in the medical tourism market, Dubai has participated in a number of global events. The Medical Tourism Council (MTC) represented the emirate at ITB Berlin 2017. One key market for Dubai is Africa and in March, Dubai Health Experience (DXH) participated in the Dubai-Africa Partnership for Better Health Roadshow, with visits to Nigeria and Ghana. Fifteen healthcare providers attended, along with a number of travel agents, who promoted the Dubai as a destination and the city’s international medical expertise.
In April, DHA also participated in the 5th Shanghai International Private Health Management Expo 2017. The organization also held a series of roadshows across the GCC, in association with the Ministry of Economy, under the umbrella of the Visit UAE campaign.
In April, MTC participated in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, and signed MOUs with The Retreat Palm Dubai – M Gallery by Sofitel as well as The Health Bank.
To ensure that the emirate has an accurate understanding of the medical tourism market in Dubai, in 2015 Medical Tourism Council initiated a collaboration with Dubai Statistics Center to collect patients’ data from the private health sector, outpatient clinics and poly clinics. The private healthcare sector was mandated to collate key information on their patients, such as their age, gender nationality and city of residence. Private centres are required to submit data periodically to the Dubai Statistics Center’s e-source, electronic system. The statistics are then used to develop a greater understanding of medical tourism trends, so that Dubai can meet visitors’ needs as the medical tourism sector expands.