The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has signed an agreement with the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) to position Abu Dhabi as a world-class medical tourism destination.
The move comes on the back of MTA’s annual World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress event now being hosted in Abu Dhabi.
This globally recognized event brings together experts and organizations from more than 100 countries worldwide and regularly attracts more than 10,000 visitors, approximately 200 exhibitors and sponsors, and up to 100 hosted VIP buyers.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), which was signed by Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, and Jonathan Edelheit, CEO of Medical Tourism Association and the chairman & co-founder of Global Healthcare Resources, an organiser of the industry’s leading conferences, opens a pathway for the two entities to strategically cooperate to further build a medical tourism proposition for consumer markets in several key areas, including Russia, China, India and across the GCC.
The agreement also includes the opening of a new MTA office in Abu Dhabi as well as the production of a new Abu Dhabi Destination Guide, which will be used to further promote the destination for the targeted regions.
The MoU will see DCT Abu Dhabi and MTA coordinate their efforts in a variety of ways, including compiling an assessment of Abu Dhabi’s current medical tourism strategy as it looks to develop targeted markets, coordinating digital marketing initiatives, launching dedicated promotional roadshows across China, Russia, and the GCC, as well as organizing ‘Familiarization Tours’ to Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art medical facilities for specific hosted buyers.
These tours will also showcase the individual medical providers in Abu Dhabi, the quality of care provided, the strong regulations to safeguard the interest of the people who visit for treatments, the extensive range of treatments that are currently available, as well as the other tourism benefits that Abu Dhabi provides for patients and their companions during their visit.
Ghobash said: “This agreement between our two organizations is in line with our mandate to promote Abu Dhabi on the world stage and to support Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030, which is designed to guide our emirate’s growth and development. The experience and knowledge shared under this MoU will greatly enhance the emirate’s ability to appeal to our intended markets as we look to increase the contribution of medical tourism to the UAE’s economy.
“In addition, the MoU, by encompassing an agreement to bring the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress event to Abu Dhabi, further reinforces our reputation as a destination of choice for hosting significant business events.”
Edelheit said: “The partnership between the MTA and DCT Abu Dhabi will boost the medical travel industry tremendously. It is our goal to establish Abu Dhabi as the most trusted medical tourism destination, initiating joint trade missions into the GCC, China, Russia, and the rest of the world.”
“This MOU establishes a ten-year partnership demonstrating Abu Dhabi’s long-term commitment to emerging as one of the most advanced and sustainable medical tourism destinations in the world. Strategically moving our global event, the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress to Abu Dhabi will align our mutual goals and provide accessibility for buyers of medical travel, insurers, hospitals and investors to a more central location.
“We expect the event to exponentially grow in Abu Dhabi and we will launch the largest hosted buyers program in the industry, rendering Abu Dhabi as the epicentre of medical travel business development,” added Edelheit.
Medical tourism represents an integral part of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 and economic diversification. Joint efforts expressed via the MoU aim to increase brand awareness and diversify the demographic of incoming patients from target markets, while at the same time boosting the reputation of Abu Dhabi as a world leader in the medical tourism industry.