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UAE ranked 16th as medical tourist destination, can potentially reach 5th
By a Staff Reporter November 23, 2014
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AJMAN: The UAE ranked 16th as a preferred destination for Medical Tourism, and has the potential to be in the top five, say experts.

Renee Marie-Stephano, the president of the Medical Tourism Association, said there may be new demands for trends in treatments and destinations in medical travel. However there are untapped niche target market opportunities within medical tourism, she says.

The first International Medical Tourism conference was organised by Thumbay Hospital (part of Thumbay Group and GMC hospital) in Dubai on Nov 21. The new hospital is due to open in December 2014 or January 2015.

The theme of the conference was “Initiatives and Updates on International Medical Tourism in UAE”.

The event was attended by over 150 delegates including medical tourism experts, doctors, facilitators and insurance agencies.

The Founder President of Thumbay Group, Thumbay Moideen, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. He awarded special awards of honour and recognition to Renee Marie Stephano, the president of the Medical Tourism Association USA, Dr Uma Nambiar, adviser to the Ministry of Health in Djibouti, Ajmal Habeeb, Managing Director, Unity Hospitals India, Dr Ibrahim Abu Gharbieh, MD Salamatek Healthcare Management UAE and Dr Benazir Ameer Ali, Director International Medical and Health Tourism Department Thumbay Hospital for their valuable contributions to Medical Tourism.

Akbar Moideen Thumbay, Director of Operations Healthcare Division and Dr Manvir Singh Walia, Administrative Director Healthcare Division of Thumbay Group, were present on the occasion.

Citing exhaustively from the findings of a survey conducted by MTA,  Renee said: “Nearly 80 per cent of demand for medical travel is driven by cost savings, Cosmetic surgery leads all other treatments, representing 38 per cent of demand, About 92 per cent of total spending on medical travel per patient is less than $30,000, Medical tourists spend between $7,475 and $15,833 per medical travel trip, For 6 million patients, medical travel may contribute $45 - $95 billion to global GDP, Latin America and Asia are the two leading regions for medical travel, Mexico and India respectively have the highest demand for medical tourism and almost 76 per cent of patients with a future interest in medical travel are American.”

She recommended that collaboration with stakeholders to conduct annual global market research and to institute policies to expand various markets within medical tourism industry.

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