Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Dubai on track to achieve goal of attracting 500,000 health tourists

Dubai attracted 337,011 international health tourists last year, making it a step closer to achieve its target of attracting 500,000 by 2021, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said following an analysis released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday on health tourism.

The authority also revealed that the tourists spent Dh1.163 billion ($316.5 million) in health tourism last year and that the top three specialties sought out by these health tourists were dentistry, orthopaedics and dermatology, respectively. 

The analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that medical tourism sales in the UAE increased 5.5 per cent year-over-year to reach Dh12.1 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2018.

It also stated that key factors that supported this growth are new medical tourism initiatives implemented by government entities such as the DHA’s Dubai Health Experience (DXH), which is the first medical tourism portal in the region enabling tourists to book their entire medical holiday online.

Commenting on these results, Humaid Al Qutami, director general of the DHA, said that these findings are a testimony to the medical capabilities of Dubai and is a testimony that the authority is on the right path to achieve its strategic goals of becoming a leading destination for health tourism, especially with the launch of DXH, the first website of its kind that helps health tourists make well-informed decisions, and with the increase of medical tourists from 107,000 in 2012 to 337,000 in 2018. 

He added that the authority aims to attract more than half a million medical tourists by 2021, ensuring that they have a quality health experience and the ideal treatment environment in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and President of the DHA, also supports the authority in achieving its goals.

DXH was launched to fulfil the emirate’s goal of attracting 500,000 medical tourists by the year 2021. It is an easy to navigate single-window smart application and website, which offers a wide range of comprehensive health packages and extensive travel information including visa requirement as well as hotel and flight booking information.

“To further strengthen the position of Dubai on the health tourism world map, DHA has recently revamped the DXH.ae website. The web portal that receives more than 10,000 unique visitors each month and now includes for languages: Arabic, English, Russian and Chinese,” said Dr Marwan Al Mulla, CEO of the Health Regulation Sector.
 
The new services added to the website are the “free second medical opinion” for international health tourist through some of the selected facilities in Dubai.

DHA’s vision is to ultimately create a comprehensive journey that is inclusive of high quality healthcare and unique health tourism services experience that are overseen and regulated by the government.

“We have also recently launched the guide for Dubai Health Tourism that provides insights on healthcare and wellness facilities that form part of the DXH Group. The 2019 Dubai Health tourism guide includes the details of the DXH Group members and it will further strengthen the position of Dubai on the health tourism world map.

Dr Al Mulla said that the majority of international patients who come to Dubai are from Arab and GCC countries, comprising 33 per cent of the total international health tourists. Top nationalities are from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Other parts of Asia make up 30 per cent of visitors coming from India, Iran and Pakistan. European tourists consisting mostly of UK, French and Italian citizens share 16 per cent of health and wellness tourists.

Wellness specialty has seen a recent surge in popularity among Asians, followed by Arabs and European nationalities. Visitors from Africa are also taking interest primarily for dental and orthopaedic treatments.

Meanwhile, dental treatment is the most popular taken by tourists, which account for 46 per cent of visitors who took services in this area in 2018, while orthopaedics had 18 per cent and dermatology, 10 per cent. Other than those, ophthalmology, wellness, aesthetics and fertility treatments are also popular among tourists. - TradeArabia News Service