Medical tourism in the Middle East has unique dual position. On one hand, the region’s well-developed, modern and highly qualified expat doctors & hospitals are preparing to capture the International Medical Tourism market for elective procedures while on the other, international healthcare organizations are tapping into GCC’s affluent society in search of highly sophisticated and advanced healthcare services unavailable within the GCC.
The rise of medical tourism provides an opportunity for the Middle East, which so far has made few inroads in the sector. From many years, a top priority for medical providers around the world have attracted medical tourists from the Middle East, now the trend is gradually reversing as the Middle East is seeking to attract medical tourists where the cost of health care and delays in getting treatment have risen sharply.
Healthcare demand in the Arab world is under significant pressure as GCC spent just 2-3% of GDP on healthcare. The healthcare demand in GCC is growing rapidly. McKinsey estimated that GCC healthcare spending would increase five fold in next year from currently $12 billion to $60 billion. This demand will continue growing until new strategies on the part of government and private health-care players come into play.
Although GCC health-care systems are far better than they were 20 years ago, many residents remain unsatisfied with the availability and quality of care at government-run hospitals and clinics. Government agencies mostly lack the managerial skills needed to run health-care facilities, and cash incentives alone have not been enough to attract specialists to treat the rising numbers of people with ailments such as heart disease and cancer, stated in report by McKinsey.