Dubai’s health tourism sector set to welcome travelers as emirate reopens to the world

The Dubai Health Authority sees the reopening of airports, aggressive testing and sanitization, and resumption of elective surgeries and other healthcare services as clear indicators of Dubai’s readiness to restart health tourism in the emirate.

Prior to the pandemic, Dubai has projected that the sector would contribute about 500,000 visitors in the emirate by 2021. An increasing number of tourists around the world are now waiting to travel for health or medical reasons to Dubai and may soon resume their impending flight plans following the emirate’s lifting of entry restrictions to tourists and visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, the Health Tourism Department held today (Wednesday July 22, 2020) a webinar themed ‘Dubai Leads the Great Comeback: DXH welcomes the world to exceptional health experiences’ to announce the sector’s readiness to welcome health tourists.

The Dubai Government’s leading efforts to strongly implement  precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in coordination with national health authorities, as well as its high-level engagement to help patients recover, had put the emirate’s advanced healthcare sector once again in the global spotlight.

The webinar, attended by key stakeholders from the tourism and health sectors and led by key speakers from the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), and private hospitals which are members of the DXH, further shed light on how the country is planning to make Dubai a destination of choice for health tourists amidst the current situation as well as the strategic measures of the authorities to ensure patient safety upon health tourists’ arrival.

Dr. Marwan Al Mulla, CEO – Health Regulation Sector, Dubai Health Authority, said, “As we all know, the world is currently facing an unprecedented crisis – one that has managed to impact various industry verticals, including health tourism. However, the government’s commitment and effort to address the impact of the pandemic has put us on the path to recovery rather soon. In fact, the exemplary actions of the government has allowed the UAE to be ranked as one of the safest nations during the pandemic—number one in the Arab region and one of the world’s top ten in managing COVID-19.”

He added: “Amidst the pandemic spread and the implementation of restrictions for businesses and individuals alike, Dubai’s healthcare sector has efficiently provided virtual assistance in licensing, including the provision of telemedicine which many hospitals have immediately adopted at the height of the situation. We are proud of the performance of the healthcare sector during that time. As some of the last patients have left from hospitals, we are resuming normal services for both inpatients and outpatients. This experience has been incredible for Dubai and a true test to the strength of our healthcare system.”

” The Dubai Health Authority has licensed a total of 3,397 health facilities in the emirate, 45 of which are newly established during the first half of 2020. Dubai Health Experience remains committed to supporting the emirate’s journey to become the most preferred global health tourism destination and a hub for top-accredited healthcare facilities,” concluded Al Mulla.

The panel discussion which included Dr Al Mulla; Issam Kazim, CEO of CEO of Dubai’s Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM); Sherif Beshara, Group Chief Executive Officer  – American Hospital; and Dr Tarek Fathey – Chief Operating Officer – Mediclinic Middle East, talked about the ongoing investments in new technologies in the sector as well as the increased number of healthcare professionals in the country, and the adaptability of the infrastructure sector to provide advanced healthcare facilities, especially during the peak of COVID-19 spread in the country.

The Health Tourism Department has raised its efforts to support Dubai in its journey to become the most preferred global health tourism destination and a hub for top-accredited healthcare facilities. It plans to boost its efforts post COVID-19 focusing on preventive and alternative health practices such as ayurveda, homeopathy, and yoga. Statistics have shown that the UAE’s wellness and spa travel market caters well to both inbound and domestic travellers, which is about 15 per cent of the total tourism market.

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