Monday 10, October 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The UAE is eyeing more centers of excellence in a bid to become a hub for medical tourism in the region.

At the International Medical Tourism Exhibition and Conference (IMTEC) being held in Dubai, the Sheikh Khalifa Speciality Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah took the spotlight as a successful case study of an emerging destination for regional and international travelers seeking world-class quality patient care. The medical facility is now considered a center of excellence in medical tourism.

With the emergence of more centers of excellence in the UAE, experts attending IMTEC agree the Emirates is likely to lead the growth of medical tourism in this part of the world.

Welcoming the delegates and exhibiting the companies at IMTEC to Dubai were His Excellency Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority; and His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing who led the opening ceremonies and a walk through of this year’s edition of the region’s leading medical tourism exhibition and conference.

“The growing medical tourism industry promises bright prospects for international stakeholders as the world population continues to age and quality healthcare services become affordable in many areas around the world, giving potential patients not only the chance to save money but also avoid long waits for treatments. This event hopes to galvanize leading insights as well as showcase the latest trends in the global medical tourism sector for those keen to take advantage of the opportunities it presents,” says Eben Botha, Exhibition Director, Informa Life Sciences, organizers of International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Medical tourism has been a bright spot for the global hospitality industry in recent years, with experts estimating the market to be valued at $45.5 to 72 billion, based on approximately 14 million cross-border patients worldwide spending an average of $3,800-6,000 per visit, including medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations.

Some of the top destinations that have become emerged during the growth phase of the medical tourism sector include India, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the United States.

“We believe IMTEC 2016 will be a truly distinctive event for the medical tourism community in the region. The objective of the event will be to show how different industries such as Insurance, medical facilitators and centers of excellence can work together and even use each other’s expertise to improve patient travel and tourism,” says James Loïc Georges, Advisor to the President and Head of International Office, Gruppo San Donato.

Among the highlights of the event’s opening day included a presentation of a global study conducted by Medigo, a globally recognized platform for patients seeking access to hospitals around the world, that showed how healthcare providers – from small clinics to large, multi-center hospital chains, in 19 countries are turning to online marketing as a way to increase brand awareness and attract patients.

The UK’s International Medical Travel Journal also brought together leading stakeholders in the medical tourism industry and shared their insights on how to improve patient care experience and enable organizations to differentiate their offers in order to be succeed in an increasingly competitive market.