Medical tourism sales in the UAE increased 5.5 percent year-over-year to reach AED12.1 billion in 2018, with growth supported by several government-led initiatives and the rising number of medical tourists in the country, new analysis released by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed.
The analysis, based on recent data from Euromonitor International and Fitch Solutions, found that health expenditure in the UAE amounted to an estimated AED50.3 billion in 2018, marking a 5.4 percent increase compared to the previous year.
Key factors supporting this growth trend include new medical tourism initiatives implemented by government entities and increasing sector privatization in the form of investment and by building state-of-the-art health facilities.
Among the main initiatives recently introduced by the Dubai Health Authority is the Dubai Health Experience, which is the first medical tourism portal in the region that enables tourists to book their entire medical holiday online.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Health and Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, jointly launched the Abu Dhabi Medical Tourism e-portal, a digital platform that provides visitors to Abu Dhabi all medical offerings and healthcare facilities throughout their visit.
Also, DCT Abu Dhabi and Medical Tourism Association, MTA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to mark the opening of the MTA’s first office in Abu Dhabi and the hosting of the World Medical Tourism and Global Healthcare Congress in Abu Dhabi in October 2019.
According to the analysis, there were 154 hospitals in the UAE in 2018, up from 107 in 2013. UAE hospitals saw 49.1 million patient visits last year (up 3.5 percent from 2013), and 789,198 public inpatient admissions were accounted for last year, while 119,897 surgical procedures were performed during the same period.
Growth momentum behind medical tourism in the UAE is expected to continue over the years, with sales in this sector projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate, CAGR, reaching an estimated value of AED19.5 billion by 2023.
Expo 2020 and continued development of the healthcare sector is projected to drive the sector’s growth in the near future, in addition to Dubai government’s target to attract more than 500,000 medical tourists by 2020, the Dubai Chamber analysis said in conclusion.