|08 December, 2019

High-end services at low costs in UAE cut outbound medical tourism - expert

The outbound medical tourism, which drains out the economy, is gradually witnessing a decline.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Men sit on massage chairs in a shop at the Chinese Dragon mall in Dubai May 3, 2010. Picture taken May 3, 2010.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Men sit on massage chairs in a shop at the Chinese Dragon mall in Dubai May 3, 2010. Picture taken May 3, 2010.

REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

An increasing number of UAE citizens and residents who used to travel to countries such as the UK, US, Thailand, India and Germany for quality medical treatments are finding better local alternatives for their health-related issues, according to an industry expert.

“The outbound medical tourism, which drains out the economy, is gradually witnessing a decline. High-end medical services and availability of international talents for the delivery of world-class health solutions are gradually changing the attitude. Now more citizens and residents are staying back in the UAE for their treatment,” said Avivo Group chief executive officer Dr Atul Aundhekar.

“Earlier a few reports suggested that the UAE’s outbound medical tourism market is expected to cross $24 billion by 2025. However, attitude is changing fast as high-end medical facilities being available in the country at quite reasonable rates,” Dr Atul pointed out.

“Interestingly, now an increasing number of patients and wellness tourists from the GCC, Europe, Africa, Russia and China are visiting UAE, particularly Dubai, each year making the sector grow steadily,” he added.

According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the emirate alone attracted 337,011 medical tourists in 2018 for treatments in the leading specialities of orthopaedics, sports medicine, dermatology and skincare, dentistry and fertility treatments.

“The team of more than 220 qualified doctors and over 1,200 employees at the Avivo Group is committed to providing high-notch health solutions to its patients at an affordable cost. Our strategy is to maximise resource optimisation to make it more pocket-friendly for our patients,” said Dr Atul of Avivo, one of the fastest-growing healthcare service providers in the GCC.

Avivo Group – which has presence in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – is one of the key partners of Dubai’s Health Tourism Initiative that aims to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2021.

“Dubai integrates tourism activities, health, healing relaxation services as well in the safest and most secure environment. Avivo Group, on its part, blends cost-effectiveness with high-end health solutions and world-class patient care,” said Dr Atul.

“In terms of affordability, we are giving tough competition to medical giants of Thailand, Hong Kong, India and China. Cost structure-wise, we are better than the US and European countries. Quality-wise, our services are no way inferior to any leading health organisation of the European states and much superior to our counterparts in East Asia,” he added.

“Many Emirati patients used to go to Germany for treatment: But things are changing fast. Now, most of them prefer to stay back and resolve health-related issues in the country itself. The outbound medical tourism is apparently reducing day by day. AVIVO Group runs German Medical Centre which has top-notch German specialists available locally,” he said.

According to a report by Euromonitor International, the total UAE medical tourism sales amounted to Dh12 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2018, up 5.5 per cent year-on-year.

“Expo 2020 will have a major effect on the country’s health tourism in the coming years. And the Avivo Group is always keen and ready to serve each wellness seeker as warmly and professionally as possible,” Dr Atul said. - TradeArabia News Service

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