GCC 'medical tourism capital of the world' as all countries rank top destinations

UAE tops GCC rankings of medical tourism destinations followed by Bahrain as third

  • Medical tourism industry to be worth US$28 billion by 2024

Manama:  The GCC has been hailed the “medical tourism capital of the world” as all its member countries ranked on a new global index of leading destinations to seek treatment.

The UAE placed first among GCC countries, according to the Medical Tourism Association, while Oman ranked second and Bahrain came in at third. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait placed fourth and sixth respectively.

The rankings in the index are based on a variety of factors, including the destination environment, patient experience, current levels of medical tourism, and the attractiveness of traditional tourism.

Judges praised Dubai's "comprehensive system", while Oman was noted as a "high quality healthcare destination”. Bahrain's high number of annual visitors and connection to neighbouring Saudi Arabia via the 25-kilometre King Fahd Causeway were highlighted as key factors in its ranking as a medical tourism destination.

Prominent health institutions have been operating in the region – including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, which  operates in Bahrain, along with the planned US$270 million King Abdulla Medical City, which provides opportunities for further healthcare investment.

Bahrain is becoming a regional leader in specialised healthcare – with particular strength in cardiology and oncology – offering exciting growth opportunities, a centralised location and promising talent. A focus on medical technology is driven by strong technical infrastructure, which also helps to provide more research data to enhance medical practices.

The value of the medical tourism market was about 15.5 billion US dollars in 2017, and it is expected to grow to 28 billion dollars by the end of 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of about 8.8% between 2018 and 2024.

According to the International Medical Travel Journal, global medical tourism spends on foreign treatment for GCC citizens amounts to more than $2bn per year. This high level of demand has resulted in an increase in local facilitaies offering new options for citizens, residents and tourists alike.


GCC medical tourism rankings from the Medical Tourism Association Index 2020-2021

  • UAE
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait

For more information, please contact:
Communications and Media Department
Economic Development Board
Phone: +973-17-589966
E-mail: internationalmedia@bahrainedb.com 

About Bahrain Economic Development Board

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is an investment promotion agency with overall responsibility for attracting investment into the Kingdom and supporting initiatives that enhance the investment climate.

The EDB works with the government and both current and prospective investors, in order to ensure that Bahrain’s investment climate is attractive, to communicate the key strengths, and to identify where opportunities exist for further economic growth through investment.

The EDB focuses on several economic sectors that capitalise on Bahrain’s competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. These sectors include financial services, manufacturing, ICT, tourism, logistics and transport.

For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com 

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