¨Recently, Bahrain like many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are trying to develop and bill themselves as medical tourism destinations in order to draw in more tourists, and to develop their own local medical industries.
Bahrain happens to be an example of a GCC nation who realizes the potential medical tourism offers them in terms of tourism, development, and economics.
¨As Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood, a member of the Bahraini parliament said “The concept of medical tourism in general is not available in the Gulf, so people in the region are turning to western and other Arab countries for treatment in specialized hospitals that provide substantial services. It is a matter to be addressed as a priority of Bahrain’s Economic and Tourism development strategy as this sector is growing steadily.”
¨In order to bring the tourism numbers back up, Bahrain is aiming to establish a medical tourism sector which is unavailable in the entire Persian Gulf region
¨This can bring more money into one of the fastest growing economies in the Arab world, as well as creating new jobs in a new sector for the country’s youth.
¨The actions of Bahrain are part of a larger trend across the GCC of building a medical tourism destination to increase tourism and the local healthcare industry.
¨Frost & Sullivan expect the total of GCC medical expenditures to triple by 2018, from $46.12 billion to $133.19 billion.
¨Most GCC nations have government run healthcare making growth difficult because of the other expenses these governments have.
¨Nations like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have recently embraced public-private partnerships (PPPs). These PPPs have saved the governments around 25 percent of healthcare costs.
¨Bahrain, with its proximity to Europe, believes it has the potential to become one of the best medical tourism destinations along with the UAE and Jordan in the Middle East.
¨What Bahrain does not have is a master plan and determination to implement it as the UAE and Jordan have done.