UAE medical tourism to exceed US $700 million

The need for collaboration between the government and private sector has been called for by a healthcare expert at Al Masah Capital Investor Forum

UAE medical tourism is set for continued future growth.
UAE medical tourism is set for continued future growth.

The need for collaboration between the government and private sector has been called for by a healthcare expert at Al Masah Capital Investor Forum

UAE medical tourism revenues are expected to cross US $700 million by 2020, according to an expert from the Dubai Healthcare Authority.

The projected future figure was calculated using an estimated total number of 500,000 medical tourists arriving this year.

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Speaking at the fifth Al Masah Capital Annual Investor Forum, Strategy and Partner Development at Dubai Healthcare City senior manager Fatma Al Sharaf said: "In 2014, Dubai treated 135,000 medical tourists, which comprised about 1.1% of the total tourist arrivals in the country. This year, the number is expected to reach 150,000 as per Colliers International.”

He added: “The DHA expects this statistic to increase to 170,000 medical tourists in 2016, with revenues of about $300 million."

"This is a fantastic forecast for the UAE healthcare industry, but this also highlights the important fact that both the government and private healthcare companies need to work hand in hand in order to realistically serve that many patients and generate the estimated revenues of Dh2.6 billion or $710 million by 2020," said Al Masah Capital founder and CEO Mr.Shailesh Dash, an alternative asset management firm.

Dr. Al Sharaf cited the need for collaboration between government and private healthcare companies to achieve the country's goals for 2020.

The DHA has said it plans to build 18 private hospitals in the coming years, with the number of private-sector healthcare staff expected to increase by more than 3,800.

According to a survey conducted by Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), 80% of medical tourists come to Dubai for the quality of care offered.

The data also showed that 48% highlighted the availability of specialist treatments as being the primary reason for coming.

This research suggests the private sector should therefore focus on consistent improvements in quality care by adopting international standards such as JCI accreditation.

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