2019 Outlook: UAE will continue to attract both leisure and medical tourists in the coming year

While retaining its image as one of the world's most premier luxury destinations, the UAE is now also attracting tourists from a wider range of countries at different economic levels, writes Dr. Thumbay Moideen, founder and president of Thumbay Group
2019 Outlook: UAE will continue to attract both leisure and medical tourists in the coming year
Healthcare destination the UAE offers advanced medical treatments
By Dr. Thumbay Moideen
Wed 09 Jan 2019 02:42 PM

2018 was a year of many revolutionary changes in the UAE’s business environment. The year witnessed many reforms to the advantage of businessmen and professionals, such as the decision to reduce license fees and introduce a 10-year visa for investors and professionals.

In 2019, we are at the threshold of the much-awaited Expo 2020. The UAE continues to consolidate its reputation as a popular destination for students, professionals and investors. The government has made it clear that it intends to not only boost the country’s economic growth and ensure market stability, but also prepare it to effectively compete in the changing global market.

2019 will see a further increase in tourists to the country, for both leisure and medical purposes. While retaining its image as one of the world’s most premier luxury destinations, the UAE is now also attracting tourists from a wider range of countries at different economic levels. The ever-improving air connectivity and infrastructural developments, combined with the UAE’s popularity as a regional healthcare destination have been responsible for attracting tourists of all kinds.

The UAE will see a rise in the number of visitors seeking treatments

In medical tourism, the UAE expects to see a significant rise in the number of visitors seeking treatments ranging from simple surgeries to sophisticated specialised treatments in areas of dentistry, physical therapy, rehabilitation, major surgeries and cosmetic procedures. For medical tourists, the prospect of being able to access advanced healthcare facilities and world-class doctors experienced in treating people from different countries makes the UAE an attractive place to seek treatments at affordable costs, compared to similar healthcare access in the West.

The UAE has already taken many important steps towards realising its aim of making the country among the top five global medical tourism destinations. As a result, it is boosting the hospitality sector.

The UAE is also making significant strides in technological innovation, in addition to positioning itself as a hub for advanced research. Especially in the field of healthcare, the country has been one of the first to adopt new technologies, thus attracting some of the best talent from all over the world in the form of professionals and researchers. In 2019, the UAE healthcare industry is expected to focus more on AI-enabled technologies, patient-centric services, and precision medicine.

Yet another notable trend is the futuristic course charted by the UAE’s educational sector. In fact, the UAE’s medical education sector is now very much at par with international standards. There is also a marked improvement in the way the country’s healthcare education and research institutions keep themselves abreast with the latest healthcare technology. The concept of ‘academic health systems’ linking medical education, healthcare and research, and the trend of establishing ‘healthcare cities’ providing access to superior care and innovative treatments, are expected to strengthen in 2019.

The UAE’s medical education sector is at par with global standards

In the light of the reforms of 2018 and the rapid pace of development in technology, innovation, healthcare, education and business, the UAE will attract more human capital in the form of students, researchers, professionals and businessmen, which will be one of its biggest assets as the country aims to achieve new beginnings post Expo 2020. Recent reforms have sent out strong signals of the UAE’s keenness to attract top talent and investments.

Recruitments by companies in 2019 will focus more on sourcing multi-skilled candidates with specialised areas of expertise. Especially in healthcare and education, candidates with exceptional research and analytical skills will have a definite advantage. Worldwide, women have been joining professional and entrepreneurial roles in growing numbers and this trend is expected to strengthen in 2019. Furthermore, companies in the region will be looking to build more diverse workforces, to enable them to serve a wider clientele.


Dr. Thumbay Moideen, Founder and President of Thumbay Group

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