Dubai holds talks to grow medical tourism

Health chief says sector is expected to generate AED6.1bn revenues by end of 2012
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 02 Jun 2012 11:53 AM

The Dubai Health Authority has held talks with private sector organisations to develop a unified medical tourism initiative for the emirate.

It said in a statement that discussions have taken place with Dubai Healthcare City Authority and Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing to develop the industry.

Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director-general of the Dubai Health Authority said Dubai was keen to grow medical tourism by implementing new health initiatives.

"Dubai is keen to foster the medical tourism sector and implement several new initiatives to boost medical tourism in cooperation with other government departments, the DHCA and the private healthcare sector.

"We strongly believe that the private sector plays a key role in this and thus we will work with the sector and key relevant government departments, airlines and tourism companies to ensure we develop successful medical tourism initiatives for Dubai."

Dubai expects to see a rise in the number of patients from GCC countries, Middle East North Africa region (MENA), South Asia, Western Europe, Baltic States, Commonwealth of Independent States countries and parts of Africa.

Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy Sector, said: "Health tourism in the city is expected to generate AED6.1bn by the end of 2012.

"Dubai's private sector investment in the healthcare sector has also surged 12 percent to $8bn in 2010-11. These figures reconfirm the Emirate's growing demand as a medical tourism destination.

Al Jassmi added: "Providing a world-class integrated health system and promoting Dubai as a globally recognised destination for healthcare is in line with the vision of the Dubai Health Strategy 2011-2013.

"Dubai is well poised to address the healthcare needs of this market as we satisfy the key criteria for healthcare that they're looking for - large number of highly qualified medical professionals, strong private sector health infrastructure, ease of access and the added advantage of multi-lingual skills given Dubai's diversity."

She said Dubai has more than 4,750 doctors/ physicians speaking over 40 languages, with tourism numbers growing over 10 percent year on year.

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