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High Cost of Hotel Accommodation May Dampen Medical Tourism

by Olivia Olarte ,  Khaleej Times | 2009-05-28

ABU DHABI — The rising cost of hotel accommodation in the country may pose a challenge to medical tourism in the UAE, according to a health official.

While lauding the recommendation for the promotion of medical tourism, Dr Saeed Bin Ishaq, head of Quality Healthcare Assurance, Ambulatory Healthcare Services at Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) expressed scepticism over the current social situation.

"The cost of staying in the country is becoming very expensive. Hospitality services, hotels and other facilities are becoming very expensive," he said, adding that the trend may discourage those who might want to come to the country for medical treatment as well as for leisure.

"I think the concept is good...UAE has a lot of strength, but we also have to overcome some of our weakness," Dr Ishaq said, citing the country's geographic location and accessibility as positive factors. "We are near rich countries in the GCC, at the same time, near our neighbours who are lacking (healthcare) quality services," he added.

Noting that the UAE is seen by developing countries as one of the best and safe tourism destination areas that provide good hospitality care, Dr Ishaq expressed confidence in the UAE's medical tourism.

"If we succeed on the other tourism side, I think we can succeed in the medical sector," he said.

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