Dubai has maintained its top position as the leading Arab destination for medical travelers for the second year in a row, based on the Global Medical Tourism Index, which was recently released by the International Healthcare Research Center (IHRC). Worldwide, the emirate, one of the globe’s most preferred tourist hubs, ranked sixth on the list of 46 unique destinations, reflecting anew its competitiveness in providing advanced healthcare services to foreign health travelers and success in building advanced medical infrastructures and facilities.
Dubai has retained its number one rank in the region after scoring high across the index’s three main criteria. It was ranked fifth in quality and services facilities benchmark; seventh in the environmental destination; and 13th in terms of its medical tourism industry. This latest achievement is the result of intensified efforts by the Dubai Government, represented by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), to strengthen its medical tourism sector as one of the key pillars of its economic diversification and development policies.
Substantial investments have been earmarked to build modern hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities in Dubai and attract international doctors across various disciplines. During the first half of 2020, DHA issued 3,397 licenses to health facilities in Dubai, while 45 new health facilities, a hospital, and 10 general and specialized medical clinics were inaugurated during the period. Moreover, Dubai has 20 licensed centers specializing in traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM). These centers currently offer eight TCAM services and employ 234 professionals. At least 20 dedicated medical centers being managed by licensed health professionals are operating in the emirate as well.
Thanks to its modern facilities and a strong commitment to enhancing the experience of international patients and wellness tourists, the emirate witnessed a 4 per cent increase in its health tourist arrivals in 2019 to reach 350,118 compared to 2018. The majority of them were Asians at 34 per cent, followed by medical tourists from Arab and Gulf countries at 28 per cent; European countries at 17 per cent; African nations at 10 per cent; and the Americas and others at 10 per cent.
Commenting on this, Dr. Marwan Al Mulla, CEO – Health Regulation Sector, Dubai Health Authority, said: “The latest recognition once again emphasizes the quality of healthcare services in Dubai and its attractiveness as a global healthcare center. This achievement is the result of our response to the directives of our wise leadership to enhance the regulatory framework within our medical system and build a world-class healthcare infrastructure and capabilities that meet the needs of healthier and happier communities in the country. Dubai positions itself as a destination where medical and wellness tourists from all over the world can avail of safe, reliable, and innovative services that will help improve their health and, consequently, the quality of their life. We have placed all the necessary precautionary measures recommended by local and global health authorities to ensure the safety of our local and international patients.”
DHA has been leading the efforts to position Dubai in the global medical tourism map by reinforcing the international community’s confidence in the emirate. As a result of this commitment, the prestigious Dubai Health Experience (DXH) brand was born, with the Authority continuously working towards implementing industry best practices and adopting international standards for patient care.
Mohamed Al Mehri, Director, Health Tourism Department, said: “Many of our DXH Group member healthcare facilities are providing second medical opinions and teleconsultations. We encourage health tourists to start planning their treatments that have been put on hold because of the current situation.”
“Amid the COVID-19, Dubai continues to offer its remarkable healthcare services. Thanks to its efforts to safeguard the health of all patients, medical personnel and the members of the wider local community, Dubai remains one of the safest destinations for medical tourists from all over the world,” he concluded.