Dubai Healthcare Sector Offers Significant Opportunities For Investments

Dubai is fast evolving to become one of the leading medical capitals in the world. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, (the V.P. & P.M. of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai) envisions making Dubai a leading destination for healthcare investments and by creating healthcare Free Zones such a Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) and market-friendly business environment, regulatory stability and transparency in the sector.

Dubai Healthcare Industry Worth

Dubai, the fastest growing healthcare city in UAE, is also fast evolving to become one of the leading medical capitals in the world. As of 2015, the industry worth of Dubai’s healthcare sector was projected in excess of $13 billion whereas the industry is projected to be worth $15 billion by the end of 2016. Dubai is home to more than 2,500 healthcare facilities and 33,000 medical professionals.

Dubai – Destination of the Year (10th World Health Tourism Congress)

Dubai won the destination of the year award at the 10th World Health Tourism Congress as the Emirates attracted 260,000 medical tourists in the first half of 2015 generating $273 million in revenue. Dubai intends to grow the number of medical tourists by around 12 per cent on y-o-y and generate $710 million by 2020. Mainly patients from Asian, European and Arabian countries travel to Dubai for specialised orthopaedics, aesthetics, dental and fertility treatments as well as cosmetic surgeries, infertility and preventive health treatments.

Healthcare Initiatives

Dubai Government set a cumulative budget of 37 per cent ($4.6 Billion) for health, education and housing for 2016 as it aims on enhancing healthcare infrastructure in the Emirate by attracting international healthcare providers to improve health system planning and service availability.

In addition to new medical institutions being set up, Dubai is receiving growing interest from international hospital chains and pharmaceutical companies. The growing number of highly skilled professionals who wish to work in Dubai’s healthcare sector has also boosted the trend.

Healthcare Free Zones – Dubai

  • Dubai Healthcare City – Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) is a free zone committed to creating a health and wellness destination. Located in the heart of Dubai, the world’s largest healthcare free zone (Phase 1) is dedicated to healthcare and medical education. The free zone is governed by Dubai Healthcare City Authority and regulated by independent regulatory body Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation. DHCC has close to 160 clinical partners including hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories across 150 plus specialties with licensed professionals from almost 90 countries, strengthening its medical tourism portfolio. Representing its network of support partners, close to 200 retail and non-clinical facilities serve the free zone.
  • Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2 – $1 billion Phase 2 is dedicated to wellness and occupies 22 million square feet in Al Jadaf, overlooking the historic Dubai Creek. oDHCC Phase 2 project was announced in 2015 in line with the Dubai Plan 2021 and EXPO 2020 to promote the status of Dubai as a new medical hub for the region. The development will oversee medical and health service, educationhospitality and retail development when completed.
  • Dubai Health Care Plan – Dubai unveiled an ambitious 10-year healthcare plan in line EXPO 2020, Dubai Medical Tourism Strategy and growing population. The Government plans to build three medical colleges and five nursing schools to train nursing assistants in Dubai through a two-year diploma program.


  • Population Growth – Dubai ‘s population reached 2.48 million in 2016 and is expected to cross 3.5 million by 2020.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – Urbanisation and rising per capita income have led to an inactive lifestyle in UAE as 66% of men and 60% of women aged 15 years and older in the UAE and Dubai are considered overweight.
  • Rise in Healthcare Demand – Dubai is predominantly expatriate driven city, the majority of whom are considered Generation X & Y. There is a likelihood of sharp rise in healthcare demand, typically between the age of 30 – 60 years.
  • Diabetes on Rise – UAE is ranked second highest in the world for diabetes prevalence making Dubai and UAE an attractive market for healthcare investments.
  • Insurance Law – Dubai has also announced to make health insurance mandatory by the end of 2016, which will subsequently boost the healthcare sector.
  • Growth in Medical Tourism – Dubai has seen massive growth in medical tourism (260,000 in first half of 2015 and expects to cross 500,000 by the end of 2015) as it strives to become a medical tourism hub in the region. Currently Dubai is the fourth most popular global tourist destination with 15 million annual visitors.
  • Higher Profitability – Healthcare sector offers investors high return on investments, in excess of 20% net profit margins, after the initial year of business establishment.

Dubai Healthcare Sector – Investment Opportunities

Dubai offers significant opportunities for investment in healthcare sector as it aims to capitalise from burgeoning population and economic growth, EXPO 2020 and the rise in healthcare demand and medical tourists. With Dubai expected to become world’s third most popular tourist destination by 2017-18, the healthcare sector will continue to remain attractive for investments.

Research Konnection –  Feel free to konnect with us on if you are looking to setup or expand healthcare facility in Dubai. 

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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