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Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia: A Potential Destination For Medical Tourism

Shahzad Khan, Md. Shariful Alam
Published 2014 · Medicine

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Abstract To perform a comparative study of Medical tourism in the Arab world with special reference to Saudi Arabia and find ways to upgrade medical tourism in Saudi Arabia. A comprehensive literature review and analysis of statistical data from Saudi Ministry of Health is performed. With more than 37 million health-related trips and the generation of more than £ 33 billion each year, medical tourism has become an important element in the global economy. Travelling abroad to seek medical care is increasing steadily in both developing and developed countries: people in developing countries seek new technology and skills in developed countries, while people in rich developed countries seek medical care elsewhere because of high costs and long waiting lists in their home countries. India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand dominate the Asian market, and the United Arab Emirates, with the construction of the Dubai Health Care City, attracts clients from western, Gulf Cooperation Council, Middle Eastern and North African countries. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not one of the most popular countries, even though it has all the basic attributes for a successful medical tourism industry, including modern, well-equipped hospitals, a well-established private health care sector, foreign-trained doctors and specialists and a stable, peaceful environment. It is also home to the main holy places of Islam and an important religious center. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could take the lead in this market by combining medical tourism with religious tourism, not only for the 1.6 billion (23% of the world's population) Muslims but also for the rest of the world. Recent accreditation of many Saudi hospitals by the Joint Commission International in the United States shows their commitment to promoting medical tourism. If properly managed, medical tourism could open the door for an income generation revolution in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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