The Dubai Health Authority has its eyes set on attracting 500,000 medical tourism patients a year and plans to build 22 hospitals, boosting the national economy by up to Dh2.6 billion by 2020. Designs aimed at making Dubai a major center for medical tourism in time for when the United Arab Emirates land territory hosts World Expo 2020 include the hiring of thousands of healthcare staff and new visas.
In response to the predicted growth the number of private-sector healthcare staff is expected to increase by more than 3,000 and tens of thousands of jobs will be created in UAE travel and tourism sectors the Medical Tourism Association and Dubai Healthcare City have teamed to sponsor an educational and training workshop for current and prospective medical tourism professionals.
Workshop Compliments Growth
Hospital administrators, physicians and clinicians, and related health, human resources, travel and tourism interests who complete the day-long workshop, Saturday, May 3, at the Academic Medical Center, in Dubai Healthcare City, are eligible to take the Certified Medical Tourism Professional exam, offered by the Medical Tourism Association.
Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association, said certification communicates a specialized expertise and commitment to best practices recognized by healthcare providers, insurance entities, government agencies and tourism and travel facilitators worldwide.
The United Arab Emirates is well on its way to becoming a medical tourism hub, which makes Dubai Healthcare City a logical site to administer health travel training and continuing education said Stephano. Local developers, businesses and healthcare officials predict more patients from around the world will continue to seek procedures and treatments in Dubai, which makes advanced skills and knowledge of the needs and requirements of these travelers imperative to the agents charged with coordinating and securing positive medical tourism experiences.
The Dubai Health Authority said 18 private and four public hospitals will be built in the next five years. Private hospitals will target patients from the Commonwealth of Independent States including Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and those in South Asia and Arabian Gulf nations.
Dubai already has several elements that make it a favorable destination for medical tourism and developing a strategy that helps ensure the complete process from the time a patient visits Dubai for medical tourism right through the discharge and follow-up stage is smooth, said Essa Al Maidoor, DHA director-general. We have carefully selected health services to be promoted taking quality and prices into consideration to attract tourists to the emirate.
Treatments offered will include orthopedic and sports medicine, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dental procedures, dermatology, preventive healthcare and skin care.
Las Vegas in Middle East
Dubai dubbed the Las Vegas of the Middle East — intends to attract 20 million tourists annually by the end of the decade while gearing up to host the World Expo in 2020. The rapid expansions of Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are already funneling more visitors into both Dubai and nearby Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is preparing to open the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over the next three years, further fueling the region's allure.
The direct contribution of travel and tourism to UAE Gross Domestic Product was Dh56.5bn last year, representing 4 percent of the nation's total GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.