Dubai’s healthcare providers treated 118, 727 medical tourists in the first quarter of 2015, figures from Dubai Health Authority showed.
The patients were received by 16 private hospitals that are licensed by the DHA and members of Dubai Medical Tourism Club.
Around 46 per cent of medical tourists to Dubai within this period were from Asian countries while 25 per cent hailed from the GCC and other Arab countries, the DHA noted. About 13 per cent were from African countries while the others were mainly from the UK and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.
Nearly a half of medical tourists belonged to the age group of 25 to 40 years while 10 per cent were aged 65 and above, figures showed.
Orthopedics surgeries, dental treatments and cosmetics dermatology were some of the top treatments availed by medical tourists to Dubai, the DHA said.
“In 2012, the total revenue from medical tourism was Dhs 652.7m and now in quarter one of 2015 the revenue is over Dhs 778.4m,” said DHA’s director of health regulation and director of medical tourism project Layla Al Marzouqi.
“We expect this number to multiply by the end of 2015. Our target for 2016 was over Dhs 1.18bn but we will surpass this soon and we aim to surpass our 2020 target, which is Dhs 2.6 bn, by an additional 20 per cent.”
Dubai has been working to build its credentials as a medical tourism hub in the region as it looks to tap into the potential from Europe and Asia. The emirate has set a target to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2020.
“Dubai is seeking to position itself within the top 15 destinations in the world for medical tourism and the first in the region,” said Al Marzouqi.
“According to the Medical Tourism Destination Index which was published by the Medical Tourism Association in 2014, Dubai ranks 17th in the world out of 25 countries that the index comprises of and accordingly the seventh in Asia and second in the MENA region among the countries surveyed by the index.”
In order to fulfill its medical tourism ambitions, Dubai has also actively invested in building the infrastructure required.
Earlier this year, the government announced that it is beginning work on the second phase of Dubai Healthcare City, a freezone for healthcare institutions.
The project, to be built at a cost of Dhs 3bn and Dhs 5bn, will be spread across 22 million square feet and located in the Jadaf area. Almost 25 per cent of the new phase will consist of medical and healthcare services, while another 25 per cent will be dedicated to hospitality and retail shopping, along with a focus on education.