Dubai plans to be hub of world medical tourism

Published:  10 Jun at 6 PM
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The revenue to be gained worldwide by investing in and promoting medical tourism has resulted in a slew of countries setting up private hospitals and clinics, with Dubai the latest to announce its aim to become a world medical tourism hub.

The oil-rich country now boasts internationally-accredited hospitals with world-class facilites as well as acclaimed specialists in the field, and is well-placed to fulfill its ambition. The emirate’s health authority met last week to invite stakeholders to benefit from the extensive financial opportunities offered by the plan.

October this year will see the launch of a website dedicated to medical tourism, giving choices of various packages including wellness programmes and preventive services. Over 20 million visitors are expected by 2020, with organised medical tourism believed to offer a viable source of revenue.

In spite of the possibility of increased air arrivals due to the medical tourism plan, the emirate isn’t intending to offer the dedicated expat immigration queues announced last week by Saudi Arabia. According to Chris Garton, a senior vice-president at Dubai International Airport, although delays do occur there is no need to expand the range of immigration opportunities.

In a press release, Garton said that e-gates and smart gates were already available for registered travellers who require a fast, queueless entry or exit. The cost of the registered service is $54.49 per visit.

Meanwhile, the UAE Central Bank announced yesterday that rental yields in the Dubai real estate market may indicate overheating and a growing imbalance in the sector. The country’s house prices between January and March this year topped global rankings for the fourth time in a row.
Average rents have surged upwards by 30 per cent, but rentals in Dubai’s most desirable areas have more than doubled in the same period. Government officials are warning that monitoring housing market developments is now a financial priority.
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