According to the Global Medical Tourism Index, Dubai has been named as the top destination in the Arab region for medical travellers. Worldwide, Dubai ranked sixth on a list of 46 destinations; Canada was named as the top destination for medical travel.
A vast array of healthcare services provided through advanced medical facilities allowed Dubai to score highly across the index’s three main criteria: quality and services facilities benchmark (in which it ranked fifth); environmental destination (ranked seventh); and in terms of its medical travel industry (ranked 13th).
Asians make up the majority demographic of medical travellers
International doctors and state-of-the-art facilities drive Dubai’s position as a strong hub for international patients. In 2019, the Emirate State witnessed a four-per-cent increase in its medical traveller arrivals, reaching 350, compared to 118 in 2018.
The majority of these arrivals were Asian (34 per cent), followed by medical travellers from Arab and Gulf countries (28 per cent); European countries (17 per cent); African nations (10 per cent); and the Americas and others (10 per cent).
Commenting on the ranking, Dr Marwan Al Mulla, CEO – Health Regulation Sector, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said: “The latest recognition once again emphasises the quality of healthcare services in Dubai and its attractiveness as a global healthcare centre. This achievement is the result of our response to the directives of our wise leadership to enhance the regulatory framework within our medical system and build a world-class healthcare infrastructure and capabilities that meet the needs of healthier and happier communities in the country.”
An emphasis on digital healthcare enhances patient safety
“Many of our DXH Group member healthcare facilities are providing second medical opinions and teleconsultations,” said Mohamed Al Mehri, Director, Health Tourism Department, touching upon Dubai’s response to help those who have had to suspend their treatments due to the pandemic.
Al Mehri added that it was thanks to Dubai’s efforts to ‘safeguard the health of all patients, medical personnel and the members of the wider local community’ that it remained one of the ‘safest destinations for medical travellers from around the world’.
“Dubai positions itself as a destination where medical and wellness tourists from all over the world can avail of safe, reliable, and innovative services that will help improve their health and, consequently, the quality of their life,” conceded DHA’s Al Mulla. “We have placed all the necessary precautionary measures recommended by local and global health authorities to ensure the safety of our local and international patients.”
Top 10 destinations for medical travel
Ranking as the number one destination for medical travellers according to the Medical Tourism Index is Canada. Singapore and Japan came second and third, while Spain and the UK came fourth and fifth. Following behind Dubai in seventh place is Costa Rica; Israel, Abu Dhabi and India came eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.