Avivo Group CEO Dr Atul Aundhekar said that outbound medical travel is declining as high-end medical services and world-class health solutions are increasingly available domestically. “Now more citizens and residents are staying in the UAE for their treatment,” he stated.
The healthcare provider has a large presence in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and is one of the key partners of Dubai’s Health tourism Initiative, which aims to attract 500,000 medical travellers by 2021.
Dr Aundhekar noted that early reports suggest that the UAE’s outbound medical travel market is expected to exceed US$24 billion by 2025. Indeed, high-end medical facilities available at reasonable prices will likely drive growth in the region. “Interestingly, now an increasing number of patients and wellness tourists from the GCC, Europe, Africa, Russia and China are visiting UAE, particularly Dubai, each year, making the sector grow steadily,” he said.
According to a report by Euromonitor International, UAE medical travel sales amounted to a total of AED12 billion in 2018, up 5.5 per cent year-on-year. And the Dubai Health Authority cited that the Emirate alone attracted 337,011 medical travellers in 2018 for treatments in the leading specialities of orthopaedics, sports medicine, dermatology and skincare, dentistry and fertility treatments.
“In terms of affordability, we are giving tough competition to the medical giants of Thailand, Hong Kong, India and China. Cost structure-wise, we are better than the US and European countries. Quality-wise, our services are no way inferior to any leading health organisation of the European states and much superior to our counterparts in East Asia,” Dr Aundhekar said.
He concluded, noting that Expo 2020 – a world Expo that will be hosted in Dubai from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 – would likely further enhance the country’s medical travel market.