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Dubai eyes medical tourists
August 2017 7880

Dubai received 326,649 international medical tourists in 2016, representing a 9.5 per cent increase over 2015, and this generated revenue to the tune of Dh1.4 billion ($381 million), reports Dubai’s Medical Tourism Council. Orthopaedics, dermatology and ophthalmology were the most sought-after medical facilities and most of the international patients were Asians (37 per cent), Arabs & GCC nationalities (31 per cent) and Europeans (15 per cent).

The Medical Tourism Council aims to promote Dubai as a global centre for the provision of medical tourism services with a target of attracting half a million international patients by 2020. In April 2016, Dubai Health Experience was launched as a highly integrated programme to bulk up Dubai’s already impressive inbound medical travel portfolio.

The emirate recently won the chairmanship of the Global Healthcare Travel Council proving its leading position in the global medical tourism sector. This highly regarded recognition increases the visibility of Dubai as a global medical tourism destination in the international platforms and enables the city to share knowledge and best practices with other destinations, in an effort to move towards a new era of globalising the provision of medical tourism.

The Medical Tourism Council of Dubai also oversees the activities of medical tourism in Dubai, creating and developing strategies and propositions for health travellers. The council also looks after the marketing, research and development activities and the online tools – The DXH App and the website to for Dubai Health Experience.

Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, director, Dubai Medical Tourism Council, tells TTN, “There is an overall growth of 9.5 per cent in the number of medical tourists to Dubai.

“However, beside targeting growth in numbers, we are also concentrating our efforts in enhancing our partner portfolio. We have recently included the region’s first holistic health and wellness resort, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, in our portfolio. This will provide the health tourist a unique opportunity to avail the complete wellness offering in Dubai.”

Dubai Health Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the unique AccorHotel property, owned by R Holding, during Arabian Travel Market earlier this year.

“We have also partnered with The Health Bank in a strategic initiative to enhancing the customer experience by offering end-to-end services right from research of doctors and health facilities to treatment, accommodation, translator services and post-treatment follow-up,” says Dr Al Marzouqi.

In collaboration with The Health Bank, a global health management company in Dubai, Dubai Health Experience offers tourists seeking healthcare in Dubai a single point of contact for research and assistance, electronic consolidation of individual health record portfolio, 24/7 medical helpline, travel assistance, logistics and assistance in evaluating and understanding insurance options.

By combining the services of The Health Bank with the health packages available on Dubai Health Experience’s web portal (, medical tourists can get personalised assistance in planning and facilitating their trips along with continuity of care, from pre-arrival to post-departure.

Dubai’s Medical Tourism Council has been actively reaching out to different markets by attending international events to promote Dubai as a medical tourism destination – ITB Berlin 2017, Africa Roadshow, World Heath and Medical Tourism Conference and Exhibition 2017, 5th Shanghai International Private Health Management Expo 2017, as well as road shows in the GCC with the UAE Ministry of Economy.

This year, Dubai’s Medical Tourism Council will be conducting a roadshow targeting the neighbouring GCC countries. Dubai will continue to market the availability of quality healthcare with a destination appeal, and the offerings include more than 80 per cent accredited hospitals and international talent. The council will be promoting wellness, cosmetic, dental and orthopaedic, including a host of other specialties this year.

The whole idea about getting away on a wellness holiday is to break your normal routine and enter a fresh space where you can realign what you want for your mind, body and life, explains the director. Dubai offers an array of state-of-the-art wellness programmes, combining annual health check-ups, exercise, nutritional advice, outdoor activities and excursions. The city offers the best healthcare and hospitality with luxury accommodation along and expert health and lifestyle advice, she concludes.

• Read more about medical and wellness travel on page 13  

Medical Tourism Council
Dubai Health Experience
Dr Layla Al Marzouqi
The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel

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