After generating Dh1 billion in revenue spend from international medical tourists in 2015, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is looking for investors to fuel its forecasted 12 per cent annual year-on-year growth.
The DHA has also revealed its 2015 growth crossed 434,000 medical tourists by end of Q3, which puts its numbers well ahead of the projected 500,000 visitors by 2020 according to current forecast models.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7 at the ongoing Arab Health conference, Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, DHA’s Director of Health Regulation Department, who is spearheading the government authority’s medical tourism drive, said: “The DHA had projected drawing 500,000 medical tourists by 2020, however, our 18 per cent year-on-year growth in 2015 has placed us far ahead of the number with 434,436 visitors by end of Q3.”
Dr Marzouqi added: “The annual growth in medical tourism is usually projected between 12-14 per cent. With our 18 per cent growth last year, Dubai has become the fastest growing city in this sector.”
With a conservative forecast of 12 per cent annual growth in this sector, the DHA could cross approximately 700,000 medical tourism visitors by end of 2020, surpassing the half million projected.
The DHA is looking to draw further investment with plans to unveil nine new regulations, along with VIP services that would fuel its growth.
“The idea is not only to attract visitors, but to have them stay and continue to provide cutting edge technological advancements for patients,” said Dr Marzouqi.
Quizzed on what specialties are being targeted, she added: “We are encouraging investment in oncology, rehabilitation and trauma services.”
Cosmetic enhancements in demand
Dr Marzouqi revealed aesthetic and cosmetic procedures remained on the top in terms of demand for specialised services by medical tourists.
This was followed by wellness, dental, IVF and preventive health checks.
She added: “Asia remains are largest market for international tourists, which stands at 45 per cent of our market last year.”