Over the years, the medical tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that Dubai has been a part of growing annually by 5.5% and sales touched AED 12.1 billion in 2018, bolstered by various government initiatives to boost healthcare and a significant jump in private healthcare investments in building state-of-the-art medical infrastructure.
With its state-of-art healthcare infrastructure and the government's initiatives to make Dubai a medical hub, the city is expected to attract 500,000 medical tourists this year, up from about 337,000 in 2018, according to a study by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
The DCCI study based on data from Euromonitor International and Fitch Solutions found that the overall health expenditure (that includes spending from UAE residents) in the UAE topped AED 50.3 billion in 2018, a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.
Officials said orthopedics, sports medicine, dermatology, and skincare, dentistry, and fertility treatment are currently among the top specialties for health tourism in Dubai.
Recently the Dubai Health Authority introduced the Dubai Health Experience (DXH), a one-stop-shop online portal for medical tourists that bring together doctors, hospitals, hotels, travel agents and airlines under one roof. Patients can consult doctors through the portal, seek the second opinion, get visa information and can even check on deals and offers available in the vibrant city. Through the portal visitors to the city can book their entire medical itineraries online - from doctors’ appointments to hotel bookings.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry study found that the number of hospitals in the UAE went up to 154 hospitals in 2018 from 107 in 2013. “UAE hospitals saw 49.1 million patients visit last year (up 3.5% from 2013), and 789,198 public inpatient admissions were accounted for last year, while 119,897 surgical procedures were performed during the same period,” the study said.
A report by Euromonitor International forecasts total revenues from medical tourism in the UAE is expected to grow to AED 14 billion by the end of this year and it could touch AED 19 billion by 2023.