Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Arab Health exhibition in Dubai has drawn some of the biggest names in global health industry. Pawan Singh / The National
The Arab Health exhibition in Dubai has drawn some of the biggest names in global health industry. Pawan Singh / The National

Rosy outlook for Arab world's recession-proof health sector

Long queues yesterday formed outside the Arab Health exhibition in a scene that harked back to the exhibition hustle and bustle of the city's boom years.

In every hotel in the city centre, there was almost certainly a doctor in the house as the last recession-proof industry rolled into town.

Long queues began to form outside the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai from midmorning in a scene that harked back to the exhibition hustle and bustle of the emirate's boom years.

Back then it was property that drew the crowds.

Yesterday, it was hospitals as some of the biggest names in the global health industry descended on a region that is expected to triple its healthcare spending to some US$133 billion (Dh488.51bn) within five years.

Ceyhan Turhan looked like he needed to stretch out on one of the hospital beds he was trying to sell in the exhibition's teeming Turkish pavilion yesterday afternoon.

"I must have talked to 100 people today," said Mr Turhan, a director at Isik Kardesler, as a group of 15 doctors huddled around the stand of the bed maker.

Demand from companies wanting to showcase their products was so strong that the organisers were forced to use corridors and outside areas to accommodate them - and that still left an estimated 400 companies on the waiting list.

"We estimate that about $300 million is being injected into the Dubai economy," said Peter Rigby, the chief executive of Informa, the event organiser. "That includes the air flight tickets from exhibitors globally, their hotels, entertainment and so on."

The healthcare sector has emerged as one of the biggest winners from a year of economic stimulus throughout the Arab world as investment pours in for the construction of new hospitals and clinics.

And as health budgets in other regions have been among the first casualties of austerity measures, manufacturers and service providers from those countries are increasingly looking to the Middle East.

That trend is reflected in the visitor numbers of this year's show. The number of Chinese exhibitors surged 40 per cent to 428 while exhibitor numbers from India as well as the UAE, also increased.

Some of the biggest spending is coming from Saudi Arabia, where 420 health projects were launched last October with plans for another 127. Yet the surge of investment has also produced a shortage of healthcare professionals, which could hamper progress, Booz and Company has warned.

Such pressures are already being felt in the Emirates where it emerged this week that health inspectors in Sharjah closed a 60-bed private hospital due to a shortage of doctors, nurses and equipment.




Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National