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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

DHA announces Dubai's first health tourism forum

The emirate hopes to position itself as the go-to global destination for health tourists 

The two-day forum starting on February 21 will host 23 lectures and eight panels to discuss the future of medical tourism. Silvia Razgova / The National
The two-day forum starting on February 21 will host 23 lectures and eight panels to discuss the future of medical tourism. Silvia Razgova / The National

The unique pulling power of Dubai as a holiday hot spot is helping to secure its position as one of the market leaders of global health tourism, industry experts have said.

The city will host the first International Medical Tourism Forum next month, with Dubai hoping to position itself as the go-to destination for patients looking to experience the best combination of hospitality and medical excellence.

The two-day forum starting on February 21 will host 23 lectures and eight panels to discuss the future of medical tourism, the latest technological advancements and how health insurance can work across international borders.

“In line with the vision of our leaders, the DHA is working towards developing a robust medical tourism sector in Dubai,” said Humaid Al Qutami, chairman of the board and director-general of the Dubai Health Authority.

“Dubai’s attractive location along with the availability of high-quality medical professionals and technology has enabled the city to build a strong and favourable platform to build its medical tourism capabilities.

“We are constantly working on developing this sector, keeping in mind patient safety, high-quality health services and excellent patient experience.”

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Although figures for last year are due to be announced at next month’s forum, Dubai witnessed an overall growth of 9 to10 per cent in the number of medical and health tourists in 2016, similar to international industry growth.

The emirate received 326,649 international medical tourists, generating revenue from international patients worth more than Dh1 billion.

The official health tourism website of Dubai, DXH.ae, gets an average of 10,000 monthly visitors searching for information to help identify certain medical treatment packages.

Dubai’s strategy for health tourism includes a charter of patient's rights and responsibilities, with which medical tourists can understand their rights before arriving in Dubai for health care.

To help reassure patients that Dubai is a safe clinical destination, a specialist health insurance policy has been created for visitors.

Underwritten by Alliance Insurance Company and backed by Alliance Global and Lloyds of London, it costs just Dh150 and provides cover while in the UAE for a variety of situations, including emergency medical expenses and up to US$50,000 (Dh183,650) for each insured individual.

“Dubai’s efforts are aimed at easing the entire patient journey,” said Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, director of Health Tourism Council.

“To facilitate the arrival of medical tourists, the DHA works with a third-party company to provide coverage.

“This policy is an important ‘safety net’ in the event of any unforeseen complications that may arise from treatment in the emirate.”