Dubai isn’t the first place that people think of when they talk about medical or cosmetic surgery tourism, but the emirate has become a hub of wellness and cosmetic surgery in the Middle East.
The medical and cosmetic surgery tourism is such a key part of the Emirate’s economy that UAE VP and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also the ruler of Dubai, passed a law back in 2018 to bolster medical tourism in the city. Said legislation, Law No. 8 of 2018, was enacted by the Dubai Health Authority in order to make sure that clinics in Dubai bring in highly-trained medical and technical staff for the well-being, health, and privacy of patients.
In 2018, Dubai saw 337,011 international medical tourists, as reported by the DHA, with revenue going up 5.5% year-on-year AED 12.1BN for that year.
As for the future, the DHA are also working on attracting at least half a million medical tourists by 2021 as it works on the city’s position in the world’s medical tourism sector.
With five star hotels and luxurious wellness centers, Dubai is known for attracting a lot of wealthy individuals from across the world, including the neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon stated their belief that the Saudis like looking good, as well as their interest in plastic and cosmetic surgery. He says that, thanks to Dubai’s proximity to Saudi Arabia, it makes it easy for patients from the latter to come over.
Ordon is an Emmy-nominated co-host of The Doctors, and a practicing surgeon of plastic, aesthetic, and reconstructive surgery in Beverly Hills, as well as being Chief Medical Officer and Visiting Surgeon at the Valiant Clinic’s Beverly Hills Sunset Surgery Center.
Valiant Clinic, is aimed at high-net-worth individuals, was at the forefront of the medical tourism from Saudi. Dubai saw 755,000 Saudis, up by 2% year-on-year over half a year, with Saudi Arabians behind only Indians in travel to the city.
Ordon, who visits Dubai bi-monthly for about ten days every trip, says that Dubai has turned into the Middle East’s hub, with people coming there for a variety of reasons. He says that, thanks to breast reconstruction surgery and other procedures, the stigma of plastic surgery is slowly going away.