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Guide to Medical Tourism in UAE – Facts, Trends, News, Services, Research, Business and Updates by Dr Prem

Guide to Medical Tourism in UAE

Dubai and Abu Dhabi were ranked by the World Bank as the 2nd and 3rd most popular medical tourism destinations respectively in the Arab region. Credit goes to heavy investment backed by strategic developments by the Emirati government to market and promote the medical facilities in this region to foreign patients seeking excellent healthcare.State-of-the-art hospitals Dubai and Abu Dhabi and medical tourism companies in Dubai have been attracting patients from developed nations apart from the regular visitors of the GCC region.

The UAE is becoming a prime medical tourism destination due to its strong healthcare infrastructure, foreign-trained specialists and physicians and latest technology housed at state-of-the-art medical facilities. The UAE tourism board is no stranger to catering to foreigners so coupling a vacation in Dubai or Abu Dhabi with the various medical treatments is becoming increasingly appealing to health-seeking travelers. Dubai aims to attract 500,000 medical travelers by 2020.

Medical Tourism in UAE – News, Updates, Guides and Trends by Dr Prem

Dubai attracts 630K medical tourists in 2021

person in airport using mobile app in phone to show covid-19 test results for travel

Dubai attracted 630 thousand foreign patients in 2021, according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The country received almost AED730 million in 2021, in spite of the pandemic. Foreign patients chose Dubai as their medical tourism destination of choice due to the excellent healthcare provided by Dubai.

According to the DHA report, most of the medical tourists came from Asia, 38% of total, 24% came from Europe and 22% belonged to GCC and Arab countries. Male patients accounted for 55% of foreign patients and the remaining 45% were women.

Approximately 70% of the medical treatments were provided by multidisciplinary clinics, 16% at the hospitals and 14% of treatments were given at one-day surgery clinics/centers. Dermatology was the most popular treatment at 43%, dentistry at 18% and gynecology at 16%. Plastic surgery, orthopedics, fertility and wellness treatments accounted for the rest.

The DHA report had detailed statistics regarding wellness tourists as well as medical tourists. Europeans topped the wellness tourism list, with GCC and Arab countries second, and Asian wellness seekers placed third on the list.

Dubai has maintained its reputation as a leading medical tourism destination as can be seen from the thousands of patients the country attracted even during the pandemic.

Quality of Healthcare

latest technologies in medical field

Facilities in the UAE, especially those in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, boast of extremely high standard of healthcare quality in all medical facilities. Increased government spending and international regulations have greatly uplifted healthcare standards and medical tourism in Dubai and the UAE to its next higher level.

The costs might seem to be higher than in other medical tourism regions; however, the medical services are unparalleled. The vast majority of providers are foreign trained. Moreover, the private and public hospitals host most of the latest technologies and medical procedures. With its 197 JCI accredited hospitals  (jci.org), the UAE demonstrates its priority to ensure better health standards, develop new medical facilities and implement its medical policies to achieve the benchmark of international healthcare quality.


Language Arabic
Time Zone GST (UTC+4)
Dialing Code +971
Electricity 220V, 50Hz
Major Cities Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al ‘Ayn
Currency UAE dirham
Clothing Summers are hot hence pack natural material clothing,

whereas winter a pleasant take lightweight jacket.

Conservative dressing.

Health Related

Mortality Rate 2.08 deaths/ 1,000 population
Life Expectancy 77 M / 79 F
Hospitals JCI accredited 197
Recommended    Vaccinations Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Diphtheriatetanus,

Measles, Varicella and Poliomyelitis

Other Infections Brucellosis, HIV


Tourism Related

Population 8,264,070 Reliability of Police Services 8/140
Global Competitiveness 4.89/7 Physician Density 2.5/1000 people
Tourism Competitiveness 4.9/7 Hospital Beds 1.4/1000
GDP/Capita $49,011 Quality of Air Transport Infrastructure 3/140
Safety and Security 5.2/7 International  Air  Transport  Network 3/140
Health and Hygiene 5.1/7 Quality of Roads 2/140
Air Transport Infrastructure 6.1/7 Hotel Rooms 24/140
Tourism Infrastructure 5.7/7 Tourism Openness 41/140
Cultural Infrastructure 3.7/7 Attitude  of  Population  Towards Foreign Visitors 15/140
Visa Requirements 104/140

Ruled by Sheikhs since time immemorial, the United Arab Emirates is a rich and wealthy country on the eastern Arabian Peninsula. As one leaves behind the Persian Gulf, a federation of seven emirates welcomes him to witness extended shorelines and the starting point for travels in the Middle East.

The emirates include Abu Dhabi (capital city), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. This country has been one of the most preferred destinations in terms of tourism, trade and leisure activities. The Arabian country shares its borders with Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, aside from sharing shorelines with Qatar and Iran.


Aerial view of Dubai Palm Jumeirah island, United Arab Emirates

One of the most exciting and unique features of UAE has been its varied topography. It has beautiful and vibrant desert landscape with vast sand dunes and dry riverbeds that add to its dry beauty. The 200 islands lying offshore along the Persian Gulf Coast are a treat to explore. Apart from this, there are coral reefs and salt marshes that add volumes of vividness to its beauty.


Popularly known as Emiratis or Emirians, the UAE residents owe their origin to the Bani Yas clan, ethnic Persians and ethnic Baluchis. Several people from other races, including South Asians and Africans, have married Emiratis to become UAE nationals. The UAE citizens prefer working in their own country rather than moving outside thanks to more than adequate welfare benefits.

The people here are very fun loving and carefree. They lead a very exotic and wealthy lifestyle due to the burgeoning economy. The people are very friendly, hospitable and helpful in nature further supportingmedical tourism companies in Dubai and UAE to promote medical treatments globally.


Traditional Emirati male Al Ayalah dance at Al Hosn Festival

The fun-loving residents of this country like to celebrate festivals and events throughout the year. The annual calendar of UAE is full with cultural, religious and other entertaining events that have high participation rates from all the people here. The Abu Dhabi Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Lynx International Advertising Festival, Dubai Shopping Festival, Sharjah Biennial, Tropfest Arabia and the UAE Awafi Festival feature primarily on the list of festivals celebrated across UAE’s various emirates.


Lying across the Tropic of Cancer, weather condition in UAE is warm and humid. The winters here are sunny with pleasant temperatures in contrast to the terribly hot and humid summers. Nights here are relatively cold that can even be less than 5 degrees in the desert area. Temperatures in summers are in 40s and higher in the inner areas. The coastal areas are very humid, with level ranging between 50 to 60 per cent and even up to 90 per cent in summer and autumns.

Healthcare System

quality medical services

The UAE has a comprehensive, public-funded healthcare delivery system and a burgeoning private health sector that provides a high standard of health care to the population. The growth in medical services has been staggering when compared to the state of facilities just a few decades ago. The Ministry of Health is commissioning large investment projects to widen and expand medical facilities and hospitals, medical centers and emergency services in the seven emirates.

Dubai Healthcare City, a multi-million dollar project has attracted the local and foreign patients to world-class health facilities. This medical zone offers international-standard care with dedicated quality.

Why Medical Tourism promotion across the GCC countries is important for continuity of care

virtual consultation with the doctor

As far as continuity of care in the GCC region is concerned, many factors come into play, ranging from the feasibility of virtual consultation and follow-up to the location of the medical facility and other conditions, such as possibility of travel, medical conditions and the age of the patient.  These areas need to be addressed before medical tourism is promoted across the GCC.  This has also been one of the focus topics at the IMTEX 2014 held in Dubai on 5-6 March, 2014.

At present continuity of care is available at a small scare across GCC borders, particularly for patients that require medical attention and are travelling between Oman and the UAE or Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  In such issues, it is important to make information flaw more efficient and protected.

This can also be done by devising a mechanism that involved pre and post consultation via various modes of virtual communication such as telephone, Skype or email.  Even, the risk for misusing data should be kept at minimum by establishing privacy rules such as providing the test results to the patient through a secure email.

Many parents preferred taking their children overseas for treatments in the past was owing to the fact that the UAE did not have paediatric healthcare facilities.  However, UAE has made great progress during the past ten years in the areas of pediatric neurodevelopment, paediatric and neonatal medicine.

Furthermore, with the inauguration of the Al Jalila Hospital, there would be more specialised paediatric care within the UAE itself so that people would not seek medical travel elsewhere.  On the contrary, it might just set the ball rolling for medical tourism to the UAE.

The IMTEC exhibition is a good platform for organisations engaged in the medical tourism value chain to come together and display their facilities and services.

Hosting medical tourism events such as the IMTEC in a city like Dubai is all the more important as it is strategically located and is the hub of commercial activity.  It is equipped with state of the art medical facilities and reputed hospitals.  Furthermore, Dubai has a very multicultural society and boasts of multilingual medical practitioners, which make it ideal for medical tourism.

Dubai medical tourism blooms to attract medical tourists

Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim director of health regulation department

Image Source : gulfnews.com

Dubai is one of the most rapidly developing medical tourism destinations that provides tourists with high quality medical treatments and care. The United Arab Emirates is now looking forward to develop in sectors such as logistics, banking, shipping and Islamic finance while medical care is above all of them. The Emirates reveal their plan to transform into the best health care destination by the year 2025, with three new hospitals and 40 clinics.

This will need the investors to be careful about various things including due diligence, territoriality and intellectual property law. An improper partnership can ruin your business by inviting several liabilities, negligence of territory can lead to various duplication and replication jurisdictions issues.

The all-new medical strategy promises to generate increased revenue of Dh 2.62 billion by the year 2020. According to Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim who is the director of health regulation department and medical tourism project at DHA, Dubai is one of the most unique and the most beautiful medical tourism destination of the world which has a perfect blend of services of the East and the West including various leisure and entertainment options. Also, Dubai receives people from all over the world for business, exhibitions and conferences, shopping and entertainment and has one of the finest tourism infrastructures in the world.

According to Ibrahim, Dubai is all set to have a full-fledged health regulation department of DHA with more than 70 percent internationally accredited hospitals, 25,518 health facilities and more than 25,846 health professionals in the private sector who speak more than 40 languages that will help to boost medical tourism of the country.

The current medical tourism strategy aims as making Dubai the best medical tourism destination of the world. Health services are being specially designed in order to attract more tourists towards the Emirates while promoting quality healthcare facilities among the visitors says Al Maidoor, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority. Good news for medical tourism facilitators and agencies who will have more opportunities for creating better medical tourism marketing strategies.

The target markets for the above said purpose are likely to be Russia, CIS countries and South Asia including neighboring GCC countries emphasizing on orthopedic and sports medicine, plastic surgeries, ophthalmology, dental procedures, preventive health check-ups and wellness and skin care services.

Further, the development of health information network, health policies and research would lead to the stronger and better sustainable health care system in Dubai and the UAE.

The next medical tourism hub to be set up in Dubai


Image Source : assets.entrepreneur.com

The two-day International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference (IMTEC 2014) came to a successful conclusion. This is the first year the conference was held in Dubai. Held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Center, the conference was attended by patients as well as several global industry leaders in the medical tourism industry.

The President and Group CEO of Dubai’s Saudi German Hospital, Engineer Sobhi A. Batterjee who spoke as part of the keynote panel session gave his opinion on how the influx of medical tourists to countries in the UAE, especially Dubai can be improved.

In his statement, Batterjee remarked how the health care industry has a long gestation period as well as high entry barrier. He also revealed how institutional investors and corporate players need to be attracted via an attractive investment climate in order to build a strong healthcare groundwork that would help sustain and support the thriving medical tourism market.

Batterjee also remarked, government as well as private agencies needs to promote Dubai as a positive health care brand, promoting and highlighting the various achievements of the city’s healthcare providers so that the entire process can be further encouraged.Medical tourism facilitators will have a prominent role in marketing Dubai as one of the most-preferred medical tourism destination.

Batterjee also insisted the necessity for the implementation of a three-pronged approach, focusing on infrastructure, support systems and regulation. He claimed that the approach would surely promote health tourism, which means that skilled healthcare professionals need to be recruited while the labor market would need to be regulated properly for hospitals to meet the increasing demands of international medical standards.

Batterjee also claimed that Dubai could very well become the largest medical tourism destination in the world. According to him, “And this will help the Saudi German Hospital Group reach new heights from a regional to global recognition. It is an opportunity for the Group to support the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to further confirm Dubai’s position as a healthcare hub and promote medical tourism.”

In addition to being held in Dubai for the first time, the IMTEC this year, opened its doors to the general public in order to encourage potential medical tourists explore medical travel options.

On its way to becoming a prime medical tourism destination, Dubai holds first health regulations conference

Dermatologist in latex gloves holding dermatoscope while examining attractive patient with skin disease

Dubai is emerging as one of the best medical tourism destinations as it offers quality health care at affordable prices to patients from every corner of the globe. Dubai is working very hard to make the country an ideal destination for medical care and the government is supporting these efforts.

When we go back a few years, we can find that the country was not able to provide quality treatment to its people and patients prefered to move out of the country to get desired treatment. Nowadays, Dubai is standing firm in the medical tourism competition and its qualified, skilled, knowledgeable staff is able to treat international patients with latest technology.

Health Regulation Conference is a smart move by Dubai medical tourism association as it is the gateway for the popularity and growth of Dubai healthcare in medical tourism sector. The first Health Regulations Conference will be held in Dubai, and Dubai medical tourism packages will be launched in this conference. These packages will be launched for residents and international medical tourists as well. This conference will be held at the beautiful Conrad Hotel on October 22 and 23.

The conference is expected to provide a great platform for the growth of medical tourism sector in the Emirates. Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim, Director of DHA and Health Regulations Conference says that this conference will help to attract more people and gain more profit. It will also help Dubai tourism, and healthcare sector to work together. He further added that the packages are extremely convenient and can help people to get quality treatment at highly affordable prices. The package is able to cover treatments like dermatology, cosmetic surgeries, various dentistry procedures, ophthalmology, and orthopedics. It is important for medical tourism businesses and facilitators to explore best possible package options for delightful patient experience.

Benefits of the conference

This is the first conference of its type and this will benefit the country and medical tourism sector in several ways. It will help to maximize the profit by attracting more patients and will generate employment or help in the overall growth of the country.

Attract more patients

Doctor in professional uniform examining patient at hospital

The main motive of the conference is to making plans to attract more and more medical tourists. If the country will offer quality treatment and first class reception to their guests, then this will helps them to attract more people to get their desired treatment.

More profit and growth

More people will lead to more foreign income and this will help to generate revenue. If the country will get more revenue, it can be used for the growth and development of the medical tourism sector. Dubai medical tourism is already providing variety of treatments and after a huge profit, the sector can enhance the quality of its services.


Doctor drawing preoperative marking on patient abdomen closeup. Plastic surgery liposuction concept

Development and growth of medical tourism sector can lead to employment as the hospital can hire more staff and can train the staff in order to provide quality service to their guests.

This will also help to make a better coordination between the healthcare and tourism sector as the healthcare sector will provide quality and specialized treatment to international patients. On the other hand, tourism sector can offer quality and VIP lodging and travel facilities to medical tourists. Now, people will get top class cosmetic and weight loss surgeries in Dubai. The packages will also provide complete medical care with specialized checkups and pre and post operative tests. The tests may include blood tests, gynecology tests, and other diagnostic tests.

These packages will provide comprehensive approach and treatment procedures to treat lifestyle problems or diseases.

Dubai’s medical tourism boost with positive public private partnership

close up. business people putting their hands together. concept of cooperation

Dubai has earned a name in the medical tourism industry like none other. Dubai offers innumerable medical tourism services under a big banner. Catering to medical tourists from all over the world, Dubai enjoys a great global recognition. With newer packages on the roll, and increased level of positive public and private partnership has nurtured the medical tourism industry of Dubai very well.

New medical tourism packages and prospering partnerships

travel package

Dubai Health Association has made a smart move, in improving the global rank of Dubai as a medical tourism destination by rolling out the new packages. The new medical tourism packages have emerged has such a lucrative deal owing to the positive and prosperous public and private partnership in the medical tourism industry of Dubai.

Both public and private service providers work together in utmost harmony and synchronization, to help Dubai become the world’s most preferred medical tourism destination that it is today. These packages include mostly hotel and wellness options; however, private service providers are considering adding further benefits to make these packages appealing to medical tourists in a greater way.

The public authorities work well in accordance to the demands of the private service providers, and help in fulfilling visa facilities at a priority. Such well-coordinated working regime saves the medical tourist from all hassles and this helps in building a trust bond with them. The relationship built on trust and faith helps Dubai to be seen, as a differentiated medical tourism destination, and increased number of tourists preferring to avail medical treatments from Dubai.

Improved healthcare services due to better public-private coordination

Better coordination and in-sync working of public and private officials

Better coordination and in-sync working of public and private officials has worked wonders for Dubai’s world-class medical tourism industry. Medical tourism facilitators and government officials are in a better position to work in respect to each other. It is due to this excellent system of working that the regulatory body is able to ensure international standards in patient safety and quality care.

The state-of-the-art facilities are also well-coordinated, courtesy public and private coordination. Dubai has provided an international benchmark for all those nations that wish to develop a high-end medical tourism industry like that of Dubai’s in their respective nations.

Government support for medical tourism boost

private investment

Dubai government has tremendously helped in boosting the private investment in the industry, especially by establishment of the Dubai Healthcare city as a free zone to attract investors. The formulation of DHA Health Sector Strategy is another major contribution towards promotion of medical tourism. Ease of licensing and land facilitation is also amongst the major public service moves that have benefitted the private medical tourism investors and service providers.

The tremendous transfiguration of medical tourism in Dubai


Dubai has already emerged as one of the best tourism destinations and the high-level treatments and care facilities available at the hospitals and medical tourism centers here have transformed the United Arab Emirates into a great medical tourism hub.

The UAE is a rapidly developing medical tourism destination that is known far more than for the usual cosmetic surgeries. It has proved itself as an ideal place for the medical tourists to visit and get treated.

Patients who receive medical treatment in Dubai often define it as extremely comfortable, professional for their medical treatment, and at the same time very enjoyable for their families who usually come with patients and stay throughout their treatments and rehabilitation process.

More and more people prefer the Emirates for their treatments because of the safety, accessibility, experienced physicians and exclusive treatments along with accredited facilities offered here.

Dubai, also known as the Las Vegas of the Middle East, recently hosted a Medical Tourism Association Chapter Program. In April 2014, the Dubai Health Authority, during the Arabian Travel Market, signed a formal agreement with the non-profit trade associations at the United States and Dubai Health Care City that includes two hospitals, more than 120 outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories and 4,000 licensed professionals.

According to Renee-Marie Stephano, Dubai has converted itself from a boring Gulf in the desert to a center of international commerce within a very short time, creating great opportunities for investment in its health care services.

According to UAE medical tourism statistics, the DHA is on its way to attract 500,000 medical tourists per year with a detailed plan to develop 22 new hospitals which would tremendously boost its economy and encourage leadership, training and improved care to help Dubai emerge as the best medical tourism destination.

The Medical Tourism Association is now on its way to join hands with DHCC to provide strategic, operational and educational support to develop various certificate and training programs for hospitals, patient specialists and medical tourism marketing professionals.

The DHA aims at implementing a strategy that would help in the betterment of all the processes right from the time the patient visits Dubai through the treatment, discharge and the final follow up once the patient is back at home.

How strategic development is pushing Dubai medical tourism to get 500,000 tourists

Dubai medical tourism

Smart strategic development plans are bearing fruits for Dubai medical tourism. The top city of Emirates welcomed 337,011 foreign medical travelers in 2018 posting 5.5% year-to-year growth touching $3.2 billion (Dh 12.1 billion). Visitors in Dubai spend more than $276 million on health tourism, as per the UAE medical tourism statistics.

Dubai’s recent participation in the World Travel Market (WTM) 2019 in London has further boosted its prospect to be a globally recognized medical and wellness tourism destination.Backed by a joint venture of Medical Tourism Association and Dubai Healthcare City, instructive and preparatory workshops will be organised to train the medical tourism professionals. With the anticipated growth in the medical field, the healthcare staff will offer employment to 3,000 private sector staff members.

DHX has marketed over 70 members of healthcare facilities to main source markets including GCC, Europe, Africa, Russia and China. With such strong supportive factors, Dubai is smartly nearing to its target of attracting 500,000 medical travelers by 2021.

Preparatory sessions ensure efficiency and progress:


The management and supervisory authority is making sure that only the trainees who undergo the preparatory session at the Academic Medical Center, in Dubai Healthcare city sit for Certified Medical Tourism Professional Exam, which the Medical Tourism Association offers.

The Medical Tourism Association’s President Renee-Marie Stephano says that the documentation is a part of the process and is essential as the certification guarantees the proficiency of the services acknowledged by healthcare dealers, medical insurance bodies, government organizations and the assisting travel agencies all over the world.

Stephano says that Dubai looks forward to become the heart of Medical tourism enabling Dubai Healthcare city to manage health travel preparation and education. All hold the opinion and anticipate that patients from all over the world would come and take benefits of the services provided by the professionals. Healthcare professionals need to be well equipped with the latest technology and advanced modes of treatment as well.

Eyeing market expansion and service diversification:

patient care

They have plans to open 18 Private and 4 Government hospitals wherein the private hospitals will primarily take care of the patients from Commonwealth of Independent states i.e., Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and will include South Asia and Arabian Gulf Nations as well.

Essa Al Maidoor, DHA director general informs that the standard of the services and charges will be kept in a reasonable and justifiable manner, so that more and more tourists can visit and stay in Emirate. He adds up that Dubai has certain favourable conditions and environmental settings that make it the ultimate choice for medical tourism and it qualifies to provide the best services and a rich experience to the visitors.

Latest technological advancements in the medical field including plastic surgery, dermatology, dental treatments, ophthalmology, and skin care would all be a part of it, which will define a new era in medical science.

Government-backed strategies spurting medical tourism growth:


Image Source : dubaichamber.com

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce attributes this steady growth to government-backed development strategies. It is serving twin objectives – uplift the existing healthcare system and create attractive value propositions for travelers seeking medical treatments in the UAE.

According to DHA data, a large section of medical tourists to Dubai are from Arab and GCC countries contributing to 33% of international health tourists. Some 30% of medical travelers are from other Asian countries like India, Iran and Pakistan. Travelers from Europe namely the UK, Italy and France contribute to 16% of medical and wellness tourists.

Orthopedics, sports medicine, dermatology, dentistry and fertility treatments are top specialties drawing a majority of medical tourists. Given the scenario, it seems quite feasible for Dubai to become a prime medical tourism hub by next year when it will be hosting Expo 2020.

Phase-wise strategic development carved the growth path:


A phenomenal rise of Dubai medical tourism was in the offing when DHA launched its master plan of strategic development in 2014 to be implemented phase-wise. The first phase was planned until 2016 and the next phase till 2020-21. The plan included building of 22 hospitals 18 private and 4 public emphasizing substantial capacity-building in private sector hospitals.

The private hospitals were earmarked to target patients from the CIS region, South Asia and Arab countries. New visas were issued to medical tourists. To make things more convenient and cost-effective, the DHA doled out attractive packages.

The second-phase five-year health strategy launched in 2016 featured 4 prime approaches, 6 objectives and 93 initiatives. The drafting of the strategy was jointly done by a large group of DHA staff, top level officials and directors of private healthcare organizations, IT companies, insurance agencies and related manufacturing companies.

These four approaches make up the crux of a robust medical tourism market. It included health and lifestyle, excellence in medical services provided, smart healthcare and governance. It focused on improving efficiency in healthcare services and the creation of an integrated database to help in framing smart government policies and building effective public-private partnerships.

Dubai ensured collective efforts from all stakeholders to improve its healthcare service quality to meet the aspiration of becoming a popular medical tourism destination not only in the UAE but also in the surrounding regions. The city took best efforts in creating investment-friendly atmosphere by dolling out tax holidays and allocating strategically located spaces.

Key evolutions impacting Dubai’s healthcare

Top class healthcare facilities

Dubai’s healthcare has been witnessing rapid developments with advanced technology and research and development creating notable impacts as follows:

●        Patients are evolving as patient care shifts from ‘fee for service’ to ‘fee for quality’

●        The demand scenario is also changing fast. Specialized hospitals, day care centers and centers of excellence are seeing higher demand than increase in beds in general hospitals.

●        Over 60% of surgeries can be conducted under the day-care facility structure.

●        By 2030, Dubai will need more number of beds to meet the growing healthcare demand.

●        Top class healthcare facilities with high operation efficiency have the potential to reap 15-20% net profit margins within a few years of establishment and stabilization of operation.

●        Compulsory health insurance has significantly increased the demand in healthcare.

Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), the prime investment domain – A big boost to medical tourism:

Dubai Healthcare City

Image Source : dhcc.ae

The launching of DHCC, the world’s largest free healthcare zone in 2002 has been the prime investment portfolio of Dubai medical tourism. The center through strategic partnerships has not only been offering highly specialized medical treatments but also facilitating medical education, research, wellness services, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and other related support.  A substantial number of patients from the UAE and overseas nations visit DHCC that houses 120 top class medical facilities.

Top class hospital networks offering specialized and affordable care:

Apart from this, an impressive range of world-class healthcare facilities and more than 35,000 healthcare professionals from 110 nationalities are contributing to the booming medical tourism in Dubai of which Saudi German Hospital, InterHealth Canada and Rashid Hospital are worth mentioning.

The DHA, under its 12-year master plan, is in on the way to add 40 primary healthcare centers and 3 new hospitals. Currently, nearly 3000 private hospitals in Dubai are in full operation and the number is expected to rise.

●        Setting up Smart hospitals:

Setting of Smart hospitals

As a part of the development strategy, the government plans to open Dh 1 billion 300-bedded smart hospital and medical university this year.

●        Robotic surgery and automated medication:

Robotic surgery

Fakeeh Academic Medical Center scheduled for construction by 2020 will feature robotic surgery and an automated medication dispensing system. Anticipating a higher volume of patient inflow shortly, this would help in smart dispensing of medicine.

Talking of affordability, healthcare services offered in different facilities are targeted towards different market segments. It is the quality factor concerned to treatment and recuperation services that make Dubai stand out in the crowd.

Revamped marketing with DHX:

launching of DHX website

Image Source : dxh.ae

Dubai medical tourism was placed on the right track with the launching of DHX (Dubai Healthcare Experience) website in 2016. It is the first of its kind in the GCC region that helped patients create a direct communication channel from the comfort of home.

The astounding rise in medical tourist number can be attributed to the user-friendliness of this website where patients can get first-hand information of everything as per their requirement with few mouse clicks. The website’s offerings including a comprehensive range of health packages and detailed travel information is helping medical travelers in informed decision-making.

In an added effort to strengthen Dubai’s position in global medical tourism, the website recently has been revamped with the addition of new services like “free second medical opinion” with selected reputed healthcare centers in Dubai.

The web portal receives over 10,000 new visitors every month. With the introduction of new language services in Chinese, Russian, Arabic and English, DHX or Dubai Healthcare Experience aims to get quicker conversions. As a part of the DHX Group, the Dubai Health Tourism Guide with detailed insights in healthcare and wellness facilities is complementing all efforts.

Enhanced focus on patient experience:


Amid serious global healthcare challenges, Dubai continues to uphold its reputation as one of the leaders in world medical tourism mainly for its untiring efforts in enhancing the patient experience. Its all-inclusive measures ensure a seamless end-to-end experience supported by the smart DXH portal. All the listed provider members in the portal have an exclusive international desk helping efficient planning and matchmaking taking care of all needs of a patient.

Free online Second Medical Opinion (SMO):

online Second Medical Opinion

DXH Second Medical Opinion available in the portal has been another significant boost in Dubai medical tourism. Seven internationally accredited hospitals are enlisted to offer free SMO in cardiology, gynaecology, orthopaedics, oncology, neurology, urology, IVF, and other fertility treatments. All these accredited facilities are manned by experienced specialists providing cutting-edge treatment procedures in all these specialties.

The SMO program of DXH is aimed to offer patients a convenient way to develop a better insight and perspective of his/her medical condition from the reviews of other specialists. The service covers reconfirmation or replanning of previous diagnosis, case discussion with other specialists of the listed facilities, suggested treatment plans and the available treatment modalities in Dubai.

The biggest advantages of SMOs are that patients can securely share their medical records only with the assigned specialist amid strict confidentiality and the turnaround period is not more than 2 days. The SMO service can be availed from the DXH site by filling a form and sharing the required health documents.

Checking outbound medical tourism:

Millions of Dirhams are being spent

Dubai like many other countries is not spared from serious healthcare burden owing to the rising incidences in cancer, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. It has been a common practice for patents in Dubai to seek government-funded specialized treatments for critical ailments in the developed nations of Europe and the US primarily due to inadequate treatment facilities in the home country.

Millions of Dirhams are being spent annually to send patients abroad but thanks to the strategic developments that is helping in checking this outflow. The number of outbound patients dropped to 1,582 in 2017 from 1,994 in 2016.

Encouraging globally reputed international organizations allowing 100% ownership:

portal to access medical records

A significant part of DHA’s medical tourism development strategy is to invite international organizations allowing them 100% ownership. The new law encouraged King’s College Hospital, London to set up their first international establishment. Their start-to-end service offerings are centered on every need of the patient starting from treatment to recovery back home.

Patients through a specific portal can always access their records, files, treatment history and any other treatment-related information from any mobile device even after getting back home after the treatment. Smart data center created by DHA as included in the strategic development facilitates secured information sharing within its network of 30,000 facilities.

Attracting the best talent pool with a 10-year visa:

10-year visa for top-level medical specialists

Dubai announced a 10-year visa for top-level medical specialists and researchers to attract best talents.  The government has also cut down red-tapism to some extent to encourage private practice of specialists reputed for ground-breaking treatment procedures. It has spared the long waiting time for specialists to acquire a license for practicing in Dubai. The government’s visionary insight to build quality healthcare support is fetching great benefits for the medical tourism sector.

Dubai’s medical tourism profile rises with new packages

Female physiotherapist applying tape on a female patient. Shoulder treatment with kinesio tape

Dubai has always been a popular destination amongst a majority of populous seeking medical treatment abroad. However, in the recent times due to increased globalization in the medical tourism industry, many new medical tourism destinations have evolved that have earned good names for their selves.

This has pinched the flourishing medical tourism industry in Dubai a little. Nevertheless, Dubai has played it smart, they have yet again maintained a high on the rising profile of global medical tourism industry by rolling out new medical tourism packages, which cover all procedures, right from cosmetic surgeries to sports medicine.

Embodiments of these medical tourism packages

The Dubai Health Authority

Image Source : dha.gov.ae

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has worked efficiently towards designing of these packages that have sought worldwide appreciation and boosted the influx of medical tourists and lobbyists in Dubai. These packages are given by all those hospitals that have applied to participate in this course of the medical tourism industry.

The new medical tourism packages by DHA are profitable all-inclusive deals that include cost of the treatments, visa formalities and fees, lodging and hotel stays, and recreational activities, not just for the patient but also for all those who accompany him/her for the medical trip, which often serves as a major enticement for the medical tourists. In provision of this all, what remains constant and true of medical tourism practices in Dubai are the quality treatments and the low and affordable costs of the medical treatments.

Positives that have made Dubai a preferred medical tourism destination always

Islamic Dentist Doctor Woman Showing Teeth Xray Shot On Digital Tablet

There are a number of good points about Dubai Health Association, which are worth all the appreciation it so gets. Let us have a closer look to what are the major strengths they play on, in order to attract increasing number of medical tourists each passing year.

  • Medical provisions for nearly all medical ailments: Dubai is one place where you can get top-notch medical facilities for almost all medical ailments, as all medical centers have to earn a mandatory accreditation before they start to operate. Right from plastic surgeries, to dental procedures, to dermatology treatments, ophthalmology, to sports medicine, Dubai as medical tourism has it all. Dubai is a hub that caters to all types of patients having smaller niches under one big banner.
  • Easy Connectivity: Another major positive that has worked tremendously well for medical tourism in Dubai is the increased and easy connectivity from all major forefronts of the globe.

Dubai medical tourism package now inclusive of visa and stay facilities for the patients

Conceptual of travel and vacation.

Large numbers of international patients visit Dubai every year for various types of treatment procedures and the place offers them safety, accessibility, experienced physicians and exclusive treatment options.

There is good news for those who would like to visit the city soon. From the month of September, you are about to get facilities throughout your hospital stay at Dubai which include visa, hotel accommodation along with recreational activities for the families who come with the patients, thus turning your treatment experience completely upside down with added comfort and fun.

The Dubai Health Authority has now decided that all the hospitals and health care facilities that are determined to provide service to the medical tourists are required to provide an all-in-one medical tourism package after acquiring membership from the Medical Tourism Club, effective the first of September, 2014.

According to Mr. Ramadan Ibrahim, the Director of Medical Regulation and the Medical Tourism Program, this decision has been made in order to increase the efficiency of Dubai’s healthcare tourism. This would increase the number of people coming in for their treatments from all over the world by including all the concerned organizations such as immigration, aviation industry, hospitality sector and public and private hospitals working together in unison.

This will help in providing the medical tourists with best-in-class treatments and world class hospitality. This will need all the providers of medical tourism packages to obtain the membership of the Medical Tourism Club, which is a non-profit organization that decides the eligibility of the service provider.

The first package is about to launch by the month of September, 2014 after the DHA provides the hospitals with platinum, gold or silver membership.

The membership would be awarded after evaluating the hospitals on basis of several factors such as details of the specialties promoted by the hospitals, details of the doctors providing these specialties, number of procedures conducted by far, the comfort and ease provided at the hospitals to the patients, availability of facilities such as translators, chauffer services and much more which will be included in the medical tourism package.

The DHA has already held a meeting with the private sector hospitals to discuss the implementation of the new medical tourism strategy.

Focusing on indigenous pharmaceutical industry:

pharmaceutical industry

Building indigenous pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries is one of the top priority sectors included in the 2030 Dubai Industrial Strategy. The UAE aims to position itself at the forefront in knowledge-based innovation-focused business strategy to gain a strong foothold in the medical tourism market.  The country is scheduled to run 34 indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing units by 2020 taking the market value to $ 6.8 billion by 2025 from its current valuation of $2.5 billion.

Strategic partnerships facilitating at-home healthcare services:

Zulekha Hospital

Image Source : zulekhahospitals.com

Apart from quality, Dubai is keen on bringing innovation in every aspect of healthcare services. The aim is to add more convenience to patients. Zulekha Hospital in an agreement with The Health Bank (TTB) is ensuring quality at-home services for patients of Zulekha Hospital.

TTB is known for its superior patient care offering seamless movement of patients from the hospital to home without hampering the optimal clinical care required. Medical travelers can get quality compassionate care even in their hotel rooms in case of both simple and complex treatments. The objective is to transform the at-home healthcare landscape by deploying trained and qualified medical professionals approved by regulatory bodies.

This has two major benefits – One, it reduces the patient’s hospital stay and cost. Two, it enables faster recovery amidst home comfort. The hospitals also benefit as they can reduce the patient burden.

Emphasizing on knowledge-building:


Much of the healthcare development in Dubai can be attributed to annual medical events, meetings and conferences acting as a platform for knowledge-building and information-sharing.

High-profile healthcare and business professionals attend these conferences regularly discussing emerging treatment trends and procedures in oncology, radiology, critical care, ophthalmology, cardiovascular pharmacology and other healthcare innovations. DHA further aims to transform top order hospitals and facilities to medical institutions and research centers.

Stringent quality control measures:

Performing surgery

In a bid to uphold the quality in healthcare, DHA announced the closure of several private healthcare clinics, health centers and pharmacies that failed to comply with the authority’s guidelines and regulations. This step was taken after inspections discovered serious violations in medical norms like below standard equipment and infrastructure in operating rooms and the shortage of emergency medicines.

Given the important role of private health facilities in the development of Dubai’s healthcare, the DHA is eager to ensure patient-safety through regular checks in these facilities related to quality and regulation compliance.

It gives a clear indication that the government under no circumstances will step back in taking stringent quality control measures. This is important as quality is given top priority by foreign medical patients; any compromise here would derail all developmental efforts.

Focusing on wellness development:

woman on wellness tourism

Previously considered as a luxury add-on, wellness has now become inseparable with healthcare. The mantra is to adopt a holistic approach taking care of both body and mind. Dubai is seriously considering this sector to reinforce medical tourism growth. The phase II of DHCC spanning 19 million square feet still under construction is dedicated entirely for wellness.

Wellness services play a great role in recuperation. But it is meant not only for the sick and ill but also health-conscious travelers seeking rejuvenation. Medical travelers can enjoy their stay in Dubai by availing world-class wellness services and engaging in other rejuvenating activities.

Las Vegas of the Middle East

Emirates Airlines have paved the way for more travellers

Rightly nicknamed as Las Vegas of the Middle East, Dubai wishes to grab the attention of 20 million tourists annually and not to forget that Dubai has won the right to host the World Expo 2020scheduled from October 1, 2021-March 31, 2022 (a pandemic-enforced rescheduling of the 2020 event).

Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines have paved the way for more travellers to come and visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the beautiful capital of UAE. In addition to this, Abu Dhabi is all geared up to build the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which for sure would be another attraction to the religious tourists (tourists with religious sentiments), and boost Abu Dhabi Medical tourism. World Tourism and Travel Council has reported that the second largest economy in the Arab world (after Saudi Arabia) UAE’s Gross Domestic Product last year was Dh56.5bn simply from tourism itself which symbolizes 4 percent of the National total GDP.

Dubai stands as one of the glaring examples of how strategic development can help in medical tourism growth. Being a globally leading tourist destination welcoming tourists of over 120 nationalities, the crown of Emirates seems to touch new milestones in medical tourism.

Global investors look to Dubai

Smart medical health care

Dubai’s continuous focus on the development of healthcare and facilities, as well as being one of the finest healthcare providers globally, has attracted the attention of global investors. Dubai and the UAE has established as a provider of cutting-edge medical developments through various innovations and improved infrastructure.

Medical tourists can opt for the latest medical treatments such as radiation surgery, 3D modeling (for dental procedures etc), and technology, AI assisted surgery, robotic surgery and pharmacy, stem cell technology and more. These innovations are aiding in quick, efficient and affordable diagnosis, potentially saving lives, and drawing investors from all around the globe.

FDI in the AI-Robotics Industry is the world’s 3rd highest currently. Dubai aims to attract 2.5 billion dollars USD in pharmaceutical manufacturing and research by the year 2022. The city’s pharma sector is pegged to reach 6.8 billion dollars by the year 2025 as reported by economic times.

Covid-19 and UAE medical tourism

UAE’s high vaccination rate

UAE’s high vaccination rate has boosted the confidence of medical travelers, even during the Covid era. With its already existing world-class infrastructure and one of the highest vaccination rate, people in countries where the healthcare system is overburdened with covid cases, will look toward the UAE for quality healthcare. Russia, Europe, India and West Africa are some of the markets the country is looking at. As many countries have opened flights, UAE is expecting approximately 20 million global visitors at the Expo 2020 Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022.

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