Abu Dhabi hotels cash in on medical tourism

Launch of DNA Health Corp expected to boost room bookings

The new DNA Health Corp centre is opening on Saadiyat Island in May.
The new DNA Health Corp centre is opening on Saadiyat Island in May.

The launch of the emirate’s first integrative medicine and wellness centre by DNA Health Corp is expected to boost hotel room bookings on Saadiyat Island.

America’s DNA Health Corp will open the first integrative medicine and wellness centre in the region on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island this month, expected to attract a new profile of hotel guest to the island.

The opening will immediately boost room reservations at the island’s Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas and The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, according to DNA Health Corp’s chairman and chief executive officer Dr Nasim Ashraf.

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“Our location is in The Collection complex at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, but our guests will primarily be staying at the Park Hyatt just a stone’s throw away, and also at the St. Regis,” said Dr Ashraf.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas director of sales and marketing Salik Mangrio said: “We remain positive about the business forecast after the opening of the medical centre, and we will definitely benefit from the large number of expected visitors to the new medical and wellness facility”.

A spokesperson for The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, however, said it was too early to comment on the anticipated impact of the opening on the hotel.

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The first-of-its-kind facility in the Middle East will offer DNA Health Corp’s bespoke ‘DNA 4 Life – Optimal Health & Wellness’ treatment and hospitality package. The four-day package features a personalised wellness plan, based on individual genome testing and DNA sequencing diagnostics to establish their ‘blueprint for health’.

“Average length of stay for the basic foundational package DNA 4 Life is four days, so that’s the minimum we’re recommending for families or individuals, but really, if they want the complete rejuvenation package they can extend that after the first four days for one-, two-, three weeks — it’s up to them,” explained Dr Ashraf, adding that the package could be bought for US $15,000, including limousine airport transfers and accommodation at one of the luxury five-star resorts on Saadiyat island.

In addition to the 10,000 sq ft dedicated facility, DNA Health Corp has teamed up with Park Hyatt to utilise the hotel’s Atarmia Spa for treatments.

Park Hyatt’s Mangrio explained: “The products and services offered by DNA Health Corp will be complemented with the array of facilities the hotel has to offer, including Atarmia Spa and Fitness Centre. Our hotel therapists will be conducting treatments based on the specific requirements agreed upon with DNA Health Centre”.

But Dr Ashraf pointed out that the facility “wouldn’t just work from the [spa] menu”.

“This is very exclusive, very private and confidential. ‘Personalised lifestyle medicine’ is the current term that’s being used and it’s a new concept of medicine,” he said.

“We’re using the hotels’ facilities, paying them, so it’s good for them as we’ll also be bringing additional guests to stay with them at the hotel, use their services, so it’s a win-win situation for both parties.”

Untapped potential
Dr Ashraf said the group was launching the centre with the support of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), following its research which identified Abu Dhabi as a potential hot spot for health and wellness tourists.

“There are a lot of Emirati people going overseas for treatment and health-related issues and spending a very large amount of money and there’s a great demand for having these services available locally.

That’s why our company decided our first flagship centre for integrated medicine, which again is a new concept, would be in Abu Dhabi. The capital is a world-class destination already, and the component we thought would further strengthen that would be wellness and health tourism.”

DNA Health Corp expects 60-70% of its client base will come from the UAE and surrounding GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

“We also expect a lot of utilisation from such guests from Russia and the central Asian states. A lot of people in Germany and France are sensitised to the health and wellness concept and will come to a sunny place like Abu Dhabi,” said Dr Ashraf.

Mangrio added: There will definitely be an impact with the opening of DNA Health Centre and we believe it will drive incremental tourism to Saadiyat Island.

“The services offered by DNA Health Corp are something new and will attract a new target audience to both our facilities,” he added.

According to Dr Ashraf, the nearest competitor to the new Abu Dhabi centre is in Europe. “The current places where they have such facilities are in Europe, Switzerland, Spain, France...so those are the areas that are currently being used by guests from all over the world, not just the GCC. Our strategy is to get a major share of that to come to Abu Dhabi.

“There’s a huge market. The wellness tourism industry currently is a US $112 billion per annum industry. It’s not being tapped into at all and I think our distinguishing factor is number one that we have all US trained and certified clinical and other related exports, and that’s a major factor that we believe gives us the edge,” said Dr Ashraf.

The story in short
As demand grows for wellness and health centres in the region, so are guest expectations and many GCC nationals are travelling overseas to seek out the latest trends in treatments.

America’s DNA Health Corp believes the market is untapped in the region and hopes to cash in on the demand with a new facility on Saadiyat Island. The opening is expected to have a positive impact on surrounding hotels by attracting a new profile of guest to stay for a minimum of four nights.

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