Exploring the challenges for medical tourism in the United Arab Emirates during the Covid-19 pandemic era: a stakeholder perspective

Purpose: This paper explores medical tourism development challenges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pre- and during Covid-19. Medical tourism is becoming a dynamic, rapid growth area and an engine of economic development. Design/methodology/approach: In-depth interviews were conducted with medical tourism professionals. Fourteen medical tourism stakeholders were interviewed from 1 January to 31 January 2020. Qualitative thematic analysis was applied on medical tourism challenges before and during the pandemic. Findings: The major themes indicated concerns for medical tourism in the UAE and they included higher medical services costs and a shortage of highly qualified medical expertise. The emerging themes related to the challenges of coping with Covid-19 and strategies to attract medical tourists. Originality/value: This study contributes towards (1) the theory of medical tourism, (2) the related limited prior published work on this topic relating to the UAE and (3) the importance of medical tourism in today’s tourism industry. Additionally, there are theoretical and practical implications for medical tourism stakeholders in terms of attracting inbound medical tourists to the UAE from other countries during the Covid-19 crisis and in the post-pandemic situation. © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.
This work is not available in the CUD collection. The version of the scholarly record of this work is published in Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (2022), available online at: https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-10-2022-0119
Covid-19, Medical, Qualitative, Sustainable development, Thematic analysis, Tourism, UAE
Okasha, A. A., Haq, F., Medhekar, A., & Yasin, N. (2022). Exploring the challenges for medical tourism in the united Arab Emirates during the covid-19 pandemic era: A stakeholder perspective. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-10-2022-0119