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Understanding barriers to inbound medical tourism in the United Arab Emirates from a provider's perspective

Vinaytosh Mishra (College of Healthcare Management and Economics, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates)
Sudhir Rana (College of Healthcare Management and Economics, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify the important barriers to the development of medical tourism in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Further, it aims to establish a relationship among these barriers and propose a framework to overcome them.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a narrative review of the literature to identify barriers to medical tourism development (MDT) in the UAE. Using a graph theory-based Total Interpretive Structural Modelling (TISM) approach to explaining the hierarchy of the identified barriers and interpret the relationship links. The study further uses Cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC) analysis to validate the finding of the study and derive conclusions.

Findings

The study identifies barriers related to MDT as (1) Policies and Regulations (2) Government support (3) Healthcare costs (4) Healthcare Capacity (5) Healthcare Quality (6) Medical Insurance (7) Facilitator and Marketing (8) International Relations (9) Ease of Travel, and (10) Religion, Culture, and Language. The study concludes that Healthcare Cost, Healthcare Quality, and the inapplicability of international medical insurance are the most important barriers. More than fifty percent of barriers fall under the linkage quadrant in MICMAC analysis which reflects that overcoming one barrier helps in overcoming other barriers as well.

Originality/value

This study is one of the most comprehensive accounts of the barriers to MDT in the UAE and strategies to overcome these barriers. To the best of our knowledge, we were not able to find a similar study.

Keywords

Citation

Mishra, V. and Rana, S. (2022), "Understanding barriers to inbound medical tourism in the United Arab Emirates from a provider's perspective", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-10-2022-0122

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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