Dubai, the dazzling city of skyscrapers, beaches and deserts, is not only a popular tourist destination but also a leading hub for medical tourism in the Middle East. With its state-of-the-art facilities, highly qualified professionals and innovative technology, Dubai offers a wide range of medical treatments and services to patients from all over the world. MD of Ishvan Pharmaceuticals, Sanjeev Nanda states, “Dubai has many advantages that make it an ideal choice for medical tourism. From cosmetic surgery, dental care, fertility treatment, orthopedics to wellness, it boasts of having some of the most advanced and internationally accredited hospitals and clinics, as well as highly qualified and experienced doctors and nurses from different backgrounds.”
Dubai’s medical tourism industry is supported by the government, which has launched several initiatives and programs to promote and facilitate the sector. In Dubai, hospitals have started to provide all-inclusive plans that involve entry, medical treatment and stay. According to Mohamed Al Mheiri, Director of the Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Health Tourism Department, patients who want to stay in Dubai for health services and treatments can apply for these medical visas directly from the hospitals. Depending on the medical issues and treatments needed, the hospitals might decide how long these stays should last. Many hospitals provide a whole package that covers treatment, accommodation and visas. As DHA concentrates on developing programs that will support and market its services, there are several packages for various services.
One major initiative is the Dubai in One Day health tourism program, which was launched in 2023 at the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress. This program offers medical tourists the opportunity to undergo health checkups and screenings in one day, while also enjoying some of the attractions and landmarks of Dubai. DHA also developed the brand DXH (Dubai Health Experience) to enhance Dubai’s reputation as a top destination for international health tourism. DXH is a portal that allows international medical tourists to book procedures and access a wide range of tourism services, such as visa issuance, appointment scheduling, hotel booking, transportation and recreational activities. It also provides information about the health facilities, doctors, prices and packages available in Dubai.
An expert in the healthcare sector, Ishvan Pharmaceuticals’ MD Nanda highlights, “Dubai is strongly committed to develop the healthcare and medical industry. The city is on track to overtake other places as a forerunner in healthcare thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities and exceptionally qualified medical personnel. These programs will not only enhance the healthcare industry but will drastically help the tourism sector.”
As per DHA, Dubai received 6,74,000 medical tourists from across the world in 2022, an increase of 12% from 2021. The top source countries for medical tourists in Dubai were India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. The most sought-after specialties were orthopedics, dentistry, dermatology and ophthalmology. Nanda points out, “Dubai continues to invest in its health infrastructure, technology, human resources and quality standards. It also leverages its strengths as a global city that offers a diverse culture, a safe environment, a modern lifestyle and a rich heritage.”
Medical tourism is not only beneficial for the patients who receive high-quality and affordable health care services, but also for the economy and society of the offering nation. It is a win-win situation for both Dubai and the world. It helps Dubai diversify its economy and enhance its reputation, while it helps the world access affordable and reliable healthcare services. Medical tourism generates revenue for the health sector and other related sectors, such as hospitality, transportation and entertainment. It also creates employment opportunities for locals and expatriates who work in the health industry or provide support services to medical tourists.
“It is astounding how creatively they have approached medicine and how much resources the city has put into research and technology to ensure that patients get the finest care possible, making it clear why more people select Dubai as their preferred and trusted healthcare location. Their healthcare sector even offers significant opportunities for investors. Dubai’s medical tourism industry is expected to grow further in the future as more people become aware of its offerings and benefits. Other countries can learn from its example and adopt some of its best practices,” shares Sanjeev Nanda of Ishvan Pharmaceuticals.
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