Article #2 | “World-Class Facilities in the UAE beckon Medical Tourists”

Sep 09 2018
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Articles #2 | “World-Class Facilities in the UAE beckon Medical Tourists”
Some of my articles on Medical tourism.

“Over the la e years e hae seen nearly hospitals in the accredited by the Joint Commission International”

Medical tourism is increasing in popularity across the globe – and there are various reasons behind this paradigm shift. A comprehensive survey of the travel sector shows a dip in leisure and business travel with tourists tightening their purse strings, while the medical tourism is raking in the moolah with demand fast outstripping supply. Needless to say, the markets that offer a wide array of world-class, affordable and well-connected medical facilities are fast emerging as the hotspots for medical tourists. If there’s any country that has done well on this front in the Middle East, it is the UAE. In fact, the UAE is one of the few countries in the world, which has identified medical tourism as a national industry. With rapid infrastructural growth over the last 40 years and boasting
some of the best medical facilities available in the world, the UAE has naturally has become a magnet for medical tourism. The country is fast taking the centre stage by increasing its market share in this ever-growing sector. Overall healthcare spending
will rise from an estimated US$8bn in 2010 to almost double that amount in 2015 (US$16.8bn), representing an annual average rise of 16% (Economist Intelligence Unit Estimates). Over the last few years, we have seen nearly 14 hospitals in the UAE accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) in the US, one of the world’s leading accreditation organisations. Naturally, this augurs well for the UAE medical tourism growth. Billions of dollars have been invested in the healthcare system, especially in Dubai, and accredited hospitals/clinics in the UAE with international standards of healthcare and more facilities have sprung up. This has been perfectly augmented with concrete initiatives such as Dubai Healthcare City, a 435-acre stateof-the-art ‘centre of excellence’ for clinical and wellness services, which has brought some of the best healthcare companies and hospitals together in the same cluster. The healthcare city is coincidentally the largest international medical centre located between Southeast Asia and Europe. Similarly, world-class hospitals such as Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, and well established healthcare facilities in other emirates are acting as catalysts to attract medical tourists from across the globe. With this, as Emirates Airlines offers very good flight connectivity, coupled with the best hotels, leisure options and more importantly, a bevy of best-in-class health facilities, medical tourism is poised to grow in a big way. If Dubai and Abu Dhabi have gained rapid strides in medical tourism, Ras Al Khaimah is not too far behind in the arena. Apart from a rich heritage, RAK offers some unbelievable hotels and shopping options and is now set to announce its unique leadership in medical facilities. The RAK Hospital provides international quality healthcare with highly qualified medical staff and skilled nursing care, redefining the standards of excellence in patient care with premium hospitality.

“The RAK Hospital provides international quality healthcare with highly qualified medical staff and skilled nursing care, redefining the standards of excellence in patient care with premium hospitality”

RAK’s strategic location makes it ideal for tourists from the Middle East, Yemen, Oman, East and West Africa. For an industry which is set to be become a $100 billion sector by 2012 – by no means a small number; and offering huge growth potential, a large chunk is poised to be generated from the UAE, and GCC states. Going by the increasing trend towards medical tourism, the Arabian Travel Market – the premier show for the travel and tourism industry from the region – hosted a Medical Tourism Pavilion to provide a platform for companies and operators to discuss future roadmap for their destinations. Although the UAE is developing its medical tourism industry, Asian destinations such as Singapore, India and Thailand are the market leaders for providing medical treatment to foreign patients. The UAE is in a prime position to establish itself as an alternative destination for the booming medical tourism market. The UAE’s ability to compete on price is also no longer a matter of concern. The average cost of heart bypass surgery in the UAE is $15-18,000, which compared with an average cost of $18,500 in Singapore, $15,000 in Thailand, $12-15,000 in India and $1012,000 in Malaysia, is not high. According to experts, a general opinion is that 40% of medical travellers seek advanced technology, 32% seek better healthcare, 15% seek faster medical services while only 9% of travellers seek lower costs, which tilts the balance towards UAE boasting some of the best doctors and equipment from across the globe. Hence, the need of the hour is educating everyone on the options available and aggressively market its unique facilities on a global scale. For this we require unified efforts, stricter regulation and effective marketing strategy to promote the country as a favourite destination to the outside world. At the moment, Thailand, India and Europe act as source markets for UAE nationals who go for a medical tourism destination. The day is not far off when UAE will be the preferred destination for medical tourism, with global tourists making a beeline not just for the yearlong sunshine, but also the medical treatments and services on offer in the country.

“The UAE is in a prime position to establish itself as an alternative destination for the booming medical tourism market”

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