Earlier this year, Dubai revealed that it intends to become a global hub for health tourism, and it appears its strategy is running according to plan with visitors flocking to the emirate for a range of medical procedures.
Official figures from Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) reveal that fertility treatments are the most popular health procedures for medical tourists.
Commenting on the results, Dr Fatma Alsharaf, the health free zone’s resident gynaecologist and head of medical tourism, said: “The reasons medical tourists visit DHCC facilities for infertility procedures vary from specialised infertility procedures to geographical proximity.”
The main reason for seeking medical treatments outside of a person's home country was the reduced bureaucracy found in Dubai, as well as restrictions added to fertility procedures that are upheld in other areas of the world.
Cosmetic treatments and dental care followed fertility procedures as the top three reasons behind medical tourists visits to Dubai.
The DHCC survey also asked medical professionals working in the free zone why they felt the emirate was becoming a key place for health tourism. Doctors believe the high level of care, quality of practitioners and the wide scope of treatments on offer are the main reasons Dubai is popular among medical tourists.
Marwan Abedin, chief executive of the DHCC, said: “As a strategic priority for DHCC, we are committed to increasing the flow of medical tourists visiting Dubai. We can achieve this with regular feedback and cooperation among our partner clinics and hospitals as well as medical tourism facilitators.”
The Dubai Health Authority has set itself a target of attracting 500,000 patients to the emirate by 2020. To achieve this goal, it has created an ambitious plan that includes the construction of 22 brand new hospitals. In the future, Dubai hopes to be seen as a global hub for medical tourism, as the US and Thailand are viewed today.
According to the report ‘Medical Tourism: An Evolving Market That's Ripe For Growth And Opportunity’, more than 11 million people travel overseas every year seeking medical treatment. Overall, the industry is said to be worth $30 billion (£17.9 billion) globally.