All over the world, more and more people are looking abroad for medical treatment, whether it’s for a complex heart operation or a simple facelift. Medical tourism is said to be a $50 billion-a-year business, and one that is increasing by 15-25 percent year over year, according to patients beyond borders, an industry publication. While countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia have traditionally dominated the market, a number of Middle Eastern nations are fast becoming go-to destinations for affluent people looking to find affordable, quality healthcare and catch some sun while they’re at it.
Dubai is surging upwards in the medical travel market with a plan to bring half a million medical tourists a year to the city’s hospitals by 2020. It’s quickly making its way towards that goal: last year, the city saw 135,000 foreign visitors use its hospitals, and this year expects an 11 percent increase to 150,000.