UAE is becoming a popular destination for medical tourism. With a target of half a million international medical tourists by 2020 UAE is aiming high. The same number of medical tourists are also expected from within, in total the number is 1 Million which is high, considering the population of UAE which is 9.5 million.
Each year the expected growth in medical tourists is 13% which means by 2021 UAE will be seeing 1.3 million medical tourists. Though other countries are also doing good in medical tourism (United States, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico etc.), UAE also has certain advantages. In 2000 UAE had only 3 hospitals with JCI accreditation which rose to 55 by 2016.
The total market for medical tourism is also quite big. The market size ranges between 50 Billion USD to 70 Billion USD. This data is based on around 14 Million cross border medical tourists who are spending an average of 3800-6000 USD per visit.
Considering the huge growth in medical tourism, the Pharma industry is also expected to grow big and aiming for 6 Billion USD by 2020, currently it’s at 3.7 Billion USD. Currently pharmaceuticals are manufactured in 14 indigenous factories which by 2020 is believed to reach 34.
The most popular procedures which medical tourist come to Dubai for are orthopaedic and cosmetic surgery. Many people come to Dubai for infertility treatment too.
Though many medical tourists are coming to UAE for cost effectiveness and infrastructure and medical facilities of international repute, but UAE has some good competition here. Here are few countries who are also known for their cost effectiveness, among them India is doing it best with 90% cost effectiveness.
• Brazil: 20-30%
• Costa Rica: 45-65%
• India: 65-90%
• Malaysia: 65-80%
• Mexico: 40-65%
• Singapore: 25-40%
• South Korea: 30-45%
• Taiwan: 40-55%
• Thailand: 50-75%
• Turkey: 50-65%
Though Dubai is trying to minimize its cost for medical tourists but it’s a tricky game since cost of medical facilities mainly depend upon the following things,
• Salaries of medical professionals
• Cost of rent
• Cost of Pharmaceuticals manufacture
Since the first two is a little difficult to control at this time, considering the high cost of living in UAE, improving cost effectiveness comparing to UAE’s competition might be a little difficult but not impossible. UAE is moving to that direction slowly but steadily.