|21 August, 2019

Dubai on track to achieve goal of attracting 500,000 health tourists by 2021

The analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that medical tourism sales in the UAE increased 5.5 per cent year-over-year to reach AED 12.1 billion in 2018

Dubai on track to achieve goal of attracting 500,000 health tourists by 2021

Dubai, UAE: Dubai attracted 337,011 international health tourists last year, making it a step closer to achieve its target of attracting 500,000 by 2021, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said following an analysis released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday on health tourism.

The authority also revealed that the tourists spent AED 1.163 billion in health tourism last year and that the top three specialties sought out by these health tourists were dentistry, orthopaedics and dermatology, respectively. 

The analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that medical tourism sales in the UAE increased 5.5 per cent year-over-year to reach AED 12.1 billion in 2018.

It also stated that key factors that supported this growth are new medical tourism initiatives implemented by government entities such as the DHA’s Dubai Health Experience (DXH), which is the first medical tourism portal in the region enabling tourists to book their entire medical holiday online.

Commenting on these results, His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Director General of the DHA said that these findings are a testimony to the medical capabilities of Dubai and is a  testimony that the authority is on the right path to achieve its strategic goals of becoming a leading destination for health tourism, especially with the launch of DXH the first website of its kind that helps health tourists make well-informed decisions and with the increase of medical tourists from 107,000 in 2012 to 337,000 in 2018. 

He added that the authority aims to attract more than half a million medical tourists by 2021, ensuring that they have a quality health experience and the ideal treatment environment in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and President of the DHA, also supports the authority in achieving its goals.

DXH, was launched to fulfill the emirate’s goal of attracting 500,000 medical tourists by the year 2021. It is an easy to navigate single window smart application and website, which offers a wide-range of comprehensive health packages and extensive travel information including visa requirement as well as hotel and flight booking information.

“To further strengthen the position of Dubai on the health tourism world map, DHA has recently revamped the DXH.ae website. The web portal that receives more than 10,000 unique visitors each month and now includes for languages: Arabic, English, Russian and Chinese,” said Dr Marwan Al Mulla, CEO of the Health Regulation Sector.

The new services added to the website are the “free second medical opinion” for international health tourist through some of the selected facilities in Dubai.

DHA’s vision is to ultimately create a comprehensive journey that is inclusive of high quality healthcare and unique health tourism services experience that are overseen and regulated by the government.

“We have also recently launched the guide for Dubai Health Tourism that provides insights on healthcare and wellness facilities that form part of the DXH Group. The 2019 Dubai Health tourism guide includes the details of the DXH Group members and it will further strengthen the position of Dubai on the health tourism world map

Dr Al Mulla said that the majority of international patients who come to Dubai are from Arab and GCC countries, comprising 33 per cent of the total international health tourists. Top nationalities are from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Other parts of Asia make up 30 per cent of visitors coming from India, Iran and Pakistan. European tourists consisting mostly of UK, French and Italian citizens share 16 per cent of health and wellness tourists. It is noteworthy to mention that specialty in wellness specialty has seen a recent surge in popularity among Asians, followed by Arabs and European nationalities. Visitors from Africa are also taking interest primarily for dental and orthopedic treatments.

Meanwhile, dental treatment is the most popular taken by tourists, which account for 46 per cent of visitors who took services in this area in 2018, while orthopedics had 18 per cent and dermatology, 10 per cent. Other than those, ophthalmology, wellness, aesthetics and fertility treatments are also popular among tourists.

About Noor Dubai Foundation:

Noor Dubai Foundation is a UAE based charity focused on the prevention of blindness and visual impairment globally. It was launched as an initiative in 2008 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and was later established as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by Law in October 2010. Over 27 million individuals from all over Africa and Asia have benefited from the Foundation’s free treatment and preventive programs which includes provision of eye glasses and medication. As a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives foundation, Noor Dubai continues to strive towards fulfilling the Vision 2020 initiative of a world free from preventable forms of blindness.

About the Dubai Health Authority:

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was created, in June 2007, by Law 13 issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, with an expanded vision to include strategic oversight for the complete health sector in Dubai and enhance private sector engagement. 

Prior to the establishment of the DHA, the Department of Health and Medical Services, which was established in 1973, was the functioning authority that almost exclusively focused on health service delivery.

In May 2018, H.H Sheikh Mohammed, issued Law No. (6) Of 2018 of the DHA. The new Law further enables the DHA to achieve its objectives including regulating medical services in Dubai, enhancing competiveness and transparency, improving medical services and products based on international best practices and achieving the sector’s objectives according to approved strategic plans.

According to the Law, DHA will ensure the availability of quality medical insurance programmes, improve medical services according to the highest international standards, contribute to providing attractive infrastructure for investments, boost Dubai’s position as a global hub for medical tourism and medical education, encourage innovation in the healthcare sector and improve preventive healthcare measures.

The Law specified DHA’s responsibilities to include preparing a comprehensive strategic plan for Dubai’s healthcare sector, conducting studies and surveys to define Dubai’s future needs and matching the results with future investments, licensing and monitoring medical workers and medical facilities according to DHA’s approved regulations. Its responsibilities also include regulating medical education and medical research in collaboration with competent local and international authorities and drafting and developing policies and procedures for the healthcare sector in Dubai.

The Law authorises DHA to regulate and approve the prices of medical services offered by private healthcare facilities in Dubai and ensure the quality of medical services. DHA is also responsible for regulating and facilitating the sending of patients for specialised medical treatment to healthcare facilities both within and outside the country, regulating and overseeing medical tourism in collaboration with concerned authorities, managing and developing policies that govern medical insurance and regulating medical advertising in Dubai.

H.H Sheikh Mohammed also issued Decree No. 17 of 2018 establishing subsidiaries of the DHA: the Dubai Healthcare Corporation and Dubai Health Insurance Corporation to further enhance healthcare services in Dubai and enable DHA to fulfil its responsibilities and obligations.

Three new strategic sectors were also added as part of the decree; they include Strategy and Corporate Development, Health Regulation, and Shared Support Services.

In addition to overseeing the health sector for the Emirate of Dubai, the DHA also focuses on providing services through DHA healthcare facilities including Latifa, Dubai, Rashid and Hatta Hospitals, its 12 primary healthcare centres, 17 medical fitness centres and its 6 specialty centres.

For more information, visit DHA’s website: www.dha.gov.ae

© Press Release 2019

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