Dubai, UAE: Medical travel is an attractive and lucrative market for all areas of the hospitality and medical sectors in the UAE. Medical travellers take longer trips and spend more on services than regular travellers. They also travel at peak times and often bring family to assist with their recovery. Hospitality and medical service providers, who cater to medical travellers effectively, have a great opportunity to substantially increase revenues and profits.The UAE is well positioned for further advancement in the medical tourism industry because of its world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities, impressive regional infrastructure and safety, and newly designed processes to make medical travel easier.
According to Beth Hirschfield, Principal, Hirschfield Consulting, UAE, “The Dubai Health Authority, as one example, estimates that medical tourism in Dubai is growing at 10-15% per year and has a long-term goal of attracting 500,000 medical tourists per year by 2020. As medical tourism in the UAE is still in its growth stages, there is substantial upside opportunity for related service providers who develop strategies and services that cater medical travellers.”
Statistics from Patients Beyond Borders’ estimated the 2014 global medical travel market size as $38.5-55 billion, based on approximately eleven million cross-border patients worldwide spending an average of $3,500-5,000 per visit, including all medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations.
“There is a need for a strong local, regional and global promotional campaign for medical tourism in the UAE, supported by a sufficient number of hospitals and medical facilities, well trained staff and medical professionals, in addition to enough funds to support consistant growth of the industry as a whole and maintain its presence and quality,” says Thomas Ressopulos, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, TIME Hotels, UAE.
Mr Ressopulos and Ms Hirshfield will discuss the UAE medical tourism industry at the upcoming International Medical Travel Conference and Exhibition (IMTEC),organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, taking place at the Dubai International Convention Centre 7-8 October 2015. It is the destination for leaders and thinkers in the medical travel arena to learn and discuss the latest developments in the region’s medical travel market. Patients are also invited to explore the medical travel destinations showcased at the event.
“To improve profitability it is important to have specialized hospitals that people can feel at home and on holiday not in a hospital environment. This can bring business to both medical and hospitality industry. That is why we are adjusting some of the accommodation located close to the Dubai Healthcare City, geared towards to this purpose,” says Mr Ressopulos.