UAE is A Medical Tourism Hub

Date: 2015-09-17

“• Winning the bid to host the World Expo 2020 proved lucrative for the construction industry; the government is focused on developing the country’s infrastructure and plans to accelerate construction activities over the forecast period. According to the 2013 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UAE is the most-attractive country for foreign direct investment (FDI) in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. FDIs increased to AED44.1 billion (US$12.0 billion) in 2013, indicating a 20% increase over FDIs in 2012. The country’s strong economic growth, strategic location and large consumer base will continue to attract investors. According to the UAE National Bureau of Statistics, the gross value add of the construction industry increased from AED96.5 billion (US$26.3 billion) in real terms, in 2012 to AED100.2 billion (US$27.3 billion) in 2013; in nominal terms, it rose from AED119.2 billion (US$32.5 billion) to AED133.0 billion (US$36.2 billion) during the same period.

• In 2013, Abu Dhabi announced plans to invest AED330.0 billion (US$89.8 billion) during the 2013–2017 period. The allocation is part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision to finance development projects in several sectors. Several projects, such as the strategic tunnel project, construction of housing units, healthcare facilities and organized ranch complexes are included in the plan. Government initiatives to support economic development in the emirate will boost construction industry growth over the forecast period.

• In 2011, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council signed agreements with developers to construct 13,000 homes by 2015, valuing AED13.5 billion (US$3.7 billion). In addition to this, of the total AED330.0 billion (US$89.8 billion) financial support initiative to fund development projects, the council approved AED3.0 billion (US$816.6 million) in housing loans to cover 1,500 UAE nationals’ housing needs in the emirates. These agreements will support the residential construction market over the forecast period.

• According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2014–2015, the UAE ranked first in the world in terms of road quality. In the 2014 proposed budget, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) allocated AED7.0 billion (US$1.9 billion), with the largest portion of funds allocated to road infrastructure. The traffic and road agency received 36.0% and rail agency received 30%. In 2011, the RTA announced that the 2012–2016 development plan would invest AED1.0 billion (US$272.3 million) to develop internal roads in residential areas. The government’s focus on developing the road network will support the development of road infrastructure over the forecast period.

• The UAE is a medical tourism hub, with Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) being the largest medical tourist destination in the GCC region. In order to enhance medical tourism, the government announced a new visa scheme in 2012 that extends the visa period from 30 days to three months, which can be renewed twice a year. The introduction of this scheme will further increase the demand for medical tourism. According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), in 2012, 107,000 tourists visited Dubai for medical treatments, generating AED652.7 million (US$177.7 million) of revenue. With the new entry law in place, the DHA expects that the number of tourists visiting emirate for medical purposes will increase by 20% to reach 500,000, to generate revenues of AED2.6 billion (US$708.0 million) by 2020. Rising demand for medical tourism is likely to attract investors in the healthcare sector, supporting healthcare buildings category growth over the forecast period.

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