Dubai is a preferred destination for healthcare sector investment for many reasons including its strategic location and ease of doing business. In 2019, the UAE ranked 11th globally in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list, up 10 places from the previous year. A growing UAE health sector, which was estimated to reach US$19.5 billion (AED 71.56 billion) in 2020, offers many investment opportunities.
The rapid development of Dubai’s domestic market and its growing role as a regional medical tourism hub has led to significant growth of its healthcare infrastructure, spearheaded by private sector investment in healthcare services. Many of the world’s largest hospitals and specialized healthcare centres are present in Dubai after capitalizing on the city’s unique investment climate which provides a number of investment incentives in the healthcare sector. With a growing population and a rise in the share of residents aged 60 and over, there is projected to be a greater need for health services moving into the future.
The city is continuously developing rules and policies to enhance its business environment, such as the newly introduced 10-year investors’ residence visa. The rule has also been extended to talented and highly qualified scientists, researchers and doctors, a strong indication of the government’s commitment towards the development of the health sector.
Dubai Health Authority oversees the healthcare sector
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is the public organisation overseeing the health system in Dubai with an expansive vision that includes strategic oversight for the complete health sector in Dubai and the enhancing of private sector engagement. Founded on the four key pillars of service delivery (quality, efficiency, patients and staff), DHA aims to ensure the availability of quality medical insurance programmes, improve medical services according to the highest international standards, contribute to providing attractive infrastructure for investments, boost Dubai’s position as a global hub for medical tourism and medical education, encourage innovation in the healthcare sector and improve preventive healthcare measures.
Health Tourism in Dubai
The Health Tourism Department in DHA supports Dubai as a global health tourism destination and a gateway to the finest medical experts and premier accredited healthcare facilities. Dubai Health Experience (DXH) is part of its strategic plan to focus on building strong ties with Dubai’s finest healthcare providers to create an unparalleled experience for medical and health tourists. DXH today embraces more than 50 of Dubai’s leading healthcare providers from hospitals and specialist clinics, to day-surgery centres. DHA’s objective is to attract over 500,000 health tourists in 2021.
The UAE’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been commended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after conducting the highest level of testing per million in the world. Made possible by unified policies and infrastructure across the public and private healthcare sectors, as well as a Government focus, Dubai has set the bar high when it comes to combating the spread of the virus.
A thriving health and wellness ecosystem, the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) Free Zone, launched in 2002, has brought to life a true integrated community in which healthcare, medical education, medical research and wellness, along with hospitality, retail and residential amenities, benefit patients, medical travelers, students, investors and visitors. With its strong and diverse network of 400+ facilities with global and regional tenants, Dubai Healthcare City is a key player in developing the UAE health sector and beyond. Its independent regulatory body ensures that quality care is accessible in the UAE and the wider region. Investors can avail of greater flexibility as, if you're seeking to obtain a medical licence on the mainland, then approval is needed from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), however, you can set up a direct medical licence in Dubai Healthcare City free zone without approval from DHA.
Dubai Science Park
Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park (DSP) fosters an environment that supports scientific research, creativity and innovation. Since its inception, the community has grown to more than 350 companies, employing over 3,600 professionals in the sciences, energy and environmental sectors. Dubai Science Park aims to play a significant role by facilitating a more sustainable and self-sufficient future that maximises the use of indigenous resources and talent. DSP will achieve this by supporting innovation in the sciences by fostering growth and change in the areas of human science, plant science, material science, environmental science and energy science.