Sociology Index

Medical Tourism And Health Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Medical Tourism and Health Tourism in Saudi Arabia is set to enhance its position as an international leader in the field of health as a result of The Supreme Commission for Tourism's promotion of public-private sector partnerships. In the case of health tourism, this will ultimately provide a 'one-stop-shop' for the thousands of people who visit the Kingdom each year to receive medical treatment.

Saudi Arabia's health tourism and medical tourism is renowned for providing sophisticated healthcare services for the treatment of all general as well as highly specialised medical conditions. Gulf Cooperation Council countries have been a rich source of income for leading hospitals around the world. Specialist centres in the UK, Germany, the USA and elsewhere have relied on a steady flow of government-sponsored patients to boost their revenues.

There have been a plethora of hospital developments in the Gulf and encouragement for foreign hospitals and investors to drive healthcare development. In 2017, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced that foreign investors can have 100% ownership in health to boost private sector investment in healthcare in the Kingdom.

'We are committed to enhancing our medical care services by offering complete arrangements through co-operation between health practitioners, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators, all of which can be tailored to suit a range of budgets,' said His Royal Highness, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahad bin Abdulla, Deputy Secretary General of Saudi Arabia's Supreme Commission for Tourism for Investment and Marketing.

'Such arrangements will ensure comprehensive packages which will include accommodation, transportation and optional tours to complement world-class medical treatment facilities and expertise,' he added.

Led by the Supreme Commission for Tourism, delegates included some of Saudi Arabia's largest hospitals and medical centres. These are King Faisal Specialist Hospital and R.C, King Abdul Aziz Medical City, Mouwasat Hospital, Dr Erfan and Bagedo General Hospital, Dallah Hospital, Riyadh-Al-Kharj Hospital, Specialised Medical Center Hospital, Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City, as well as the Ministry of Health.

Saudi Arabia's plans to enhance its health tourism product were endorsed by its participation in the First International Health Tourism and Holidays Exhibition which is currently taking place in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The hotel, travel agencies and tour operators also participating entities include Al-Mutlaq Hotel, Menhal Travel & Tourism, National Company for Tourism and Sunset Beach.

The medical insurance industry in Saudi Arabia is also of great strategic relevance to health tourism, and Methaq Insurance - one of the participants at the event - announced that is now offering policies to religious pilgrims as part of religious travel packages, to provide medical insurance coverage in case of any injuries during pilgrimage trips. Methaq's policies are accepted at the best hospitals and medical centers in the Kingdom.

Combined, these co-participants – under the umbrella of The Supreme Commission for Tourism – have affirmed their commitment to partnerships in the area of health tourism to promote and serve the best interests of health tourism visitors to the Kingdom, explained Prince Abdul Aziz.