Analysis of medical tourism potential in Bahrain

 

Bahrain gets many tourists from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and it also has close ties with Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

However, as a medical travel destination, it has to compete with the established medical tourism sector in Dubai and the, so far, less successful but active attempts by Abu Dhabi.

The other state with which Bahrain has a maritime border, Qatar, is in a long running political stand-off with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain itself.

The country also has a maritime border with Iran which, despite US pressure, has its own thriving and growing medical and health tourism sector.

Factor in the lack of many hospitals or health facilities in Bahrain that offer anything different or even have capacity, and the nearness to the current US/Iran dispute, may make it difficult to make progress.

Bahrain accepts that it needs overseas investors to develop local healthcare and the talk of medical tourism potential is tied to attempts to attract overseas healthcare groups.

The National Health Plan 2016-2025 has therapeutic tourism as a key national initiative but so far that is as far as it has got, as it needs private sector investment.

The Supreme Health Council wants to take advantage of Bahrain’s medical capabilities to boost the kingdom’s tourism by providing advanced medical services at competitive prices. It has an undefined hope that a new accreditation programme for hospitals and clinics will make it a medical tourism destination.

For further analysis of medical tourism in Bahrain, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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