DHA head wants to attract more health tourists to the UAE

Director general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Essa Al Maidoor is keen to attract a greater number of health tourists to the emirate in the coming years.Speaking to Arabian Business, he said that the emirate's healthcare sector continues to expand rapidly and increasingly flexible visa restrictions will enable more people to receive treatment in the Gulf.Mr Al Maidoor is hopeful that millions of foreign visitors will head to Dubai in order to take advantage of the top-quality care that is on offer and this will pump billions into the city's economy."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," he was quoted as saying.According to DHA figures, the number of medical tourists visiting Dubai is growing by around ten to 15 per cent each year and the UAE has made things easier by recently launching a three-month health tourist visa.There is no doubt that Dubai is a world leader when it comes to medical care and thousands of doctors attend important seminars and conferences in the city in order to develop their skills.Earlier this month, the emirate staged the Arab Health Expo, which attracted more than 100,000 people and around 90,000 nights worth of hotel bookings were made while the event was taking place.Mr Al Maidoor is aware that Dubai's tourism figures are increasing on an annual basis and the ongoing expansion at Dubai International Airport will help matters even further.The aviation hub accommodated more than 57 million passengers throughout 2012 and the opening of the new Concourse A has taken its annual capacity to 75 million.Leaders at Dubai Airports expect around 66 million tourists and businesspeople to arrive in the city in 2013 and the facility will eventually be capable of handling 90 million people by 2018.

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