With a 13% annual growth in Dubai medical sector by 2021 and an investment of over US$272.2 million last year, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) expects to welcome around 1.3 million medical tourists to the emirate within the next five years. Details released by the Dubai Statistic Centre (DSC) show that Dubai’s 26 hospitals, both private and government, received nearly 630,831 health tourists last year, of which 298,359 were foreigners who came from abroad, accounting for nearly 46 per cent of the total. Most of the tourists sought treatment in Dubai for osteoporosis, fertility, dermatology and plastic surgery.
According to Business Monitor International (BMI), UAE is the most attractive market in the MENA region, followed closely by Saudi Arabia. Last April, Dubai Health Authority launched a web portal which covers everything from visa to hospital booking and insurance to allow international medical tourists to book their procedures online, along with a range of healthcare related services, the initiative has a target of over 500,000 international medical tourists by 2020. Meanwhile, plans for setting up 18 private hospitals across Dubai in the next five years are in the pipeline.
Namrata Gada, a senior manager at research firm Aranca mentioned four factors supporting Dubai’s healthcare efforts: strong fiscal spending, state-of-the-art treatment centres, a strong presence of international pharmaceutical brands and use of modern technology. Indeed, in Dubai quality treatment can be availed at affordable costs compared to the US and Western Europe.
 13% annual growth in Dubai medical sector by 2021, Hotelier Middle East, September 22, 2016
 Dubai prepares for influx of 1.3m medical tourists by 2021, Gulf News, September 23, 2016
 Dubai launches world’s first medical tourism portal, Gulf News, April 10, 2016
 Dubai expecting13% annual growth in medical tourism by 2021, Travel and Tour World, September 23, 2016