Medical tourism is on a global high as more and more travelers are visiting medical tourism destinations. The prime reason to consider traveling to another destination for medical procedure is the cost. Although medical tourism as activity is ingrained deeply since time immemorial, yet it is recently that, it has caught many eyes. Middle East has also been evolving as an upcoming destination for medical tourism. Dubai is fast gaining many medical tourists. It has already been in the top ten world’s most visited destination and it is catching up in becoming a popular destination in the medical tourism industry as well.
The rise of Dubai as a medical tourism destination
Clinics like the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital are helping Middle East become a popular destination in the medical tourism industry. The development of the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made many a consideration in reducing the costs of the procedures involved allowing more medical tourists to fly in for medical procedures. However, the costs of medical procedures in the Middle East can be expensive in comparison to other cost effective medical tourism destinations, though changes are being made to match up the prices to some cost effective destinations.
The Middle East in particular has seen a rise in both inbound and outbound medical tourism. The growing interest for cosmetic surgery especially by the Millennial generation has made the development of specialized healthcare cities and other major hospital projects designed to transform the Middle East – namely Dubai – into a medical tourism hub. However, the major population of medical tourists flies to East Asian countries or India, mainly because of the cost effectiveness of such regions.
The cost conundrum
Although Middle East, especially Dubai is attracting many medical tourists, yet it is too expensive to compete on cost with destinations like India, and is not highly regarded enough to compete on quality with the USA and Europe.
There are also some other issues other than the expensiveness that causes a pothole in the way to medical tourism in the Middle East. These are cultural issues, ethical issues, and the visa policy of the Middle East that are too stringent for the medical travelers. The medical tourist can have an adjustment problem and may take longer to acclimatize to the environment in comparison to the other destinations. These issues are though very skillfully managed and thereby Middle East is topping the charts of popular medical tourism destinations.
The Middle East is one of the most sought-after markets, as travelers to the region are known as high-spending customers with specific healthcare requirements. Consequently, travel and hospitality providers are making concerted efforts to claim a slice of the lucrative Middle East health tourist market. In order to increase the medical tourist inflow in Middle East, especially Dubai, DHA has planned to develop a single window operation through a dedicated website or electronic access points in key locations to provide information and connect medical tourists to the healthcare facilities in Dubai. The main area of concern however remain the higher costs involved even after such projectile growth movements.
The medical tourism industry is growing phenomenally in the Middle East, which is seen through the increasing number of people travelling to Middle East for urgent medical attention. The marketing has to be done right at an international level so that more and more people know of this upcoming medical tourism destination. As a result, this will build up the brand reputation for high quality and affordable healthcare.
Middle East is becoming a popular medical tourism hub as it is effectively touching potentials attending the cost related issues. With the international help and efforts of the DHA, Middle East has improved and has become quality medical services providers and they are effectively working to make these services affordable as well.