Medical tourism is one of the emerging trends in the tourism sector that is becoming popular in various parts of the world. In the past, tourists were known to travel out of their country or cities to visit beautiful sceneries and wildlife during holidays. However, many people are currently making such travels with the primary intention of seeking medical attention. According to Hvidt, medical tourism refers to “The travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country” (398).
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The emergence of complex diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases have forced many people across the world to seek specialized attention from countries they believe have the capacity to offer them the services they need. According to Furlong and Hedding, medical tourism is a relatively new concept, but for many years people have been making regular trips out of the country to other nations to seek medical attention (615). Traditionally, people from developing nations would travel to developed nations where they can get specialized care for their medical conditions. During such trips, the primary reason for the travel would be for the medication.
The patient and his or her family members would travel back to their country soon after receiving treatment. However, a new trend is emerging where people come from developed countries to developing nations to seek medical attention. This is so because such individuals believe that they can receive the same service but at a lower cost in these developing nations. Others make such travels because of the laws in their country do not permit some form of medical procedures. They are forced to get such services in foreign countries that do not have such restrictions.
Dubai is one of the cities that have been growing very rapidly over the past two decades as a business and tourist hub. According to Hvidt, Dubai is currently the leading tourist destination center in the Middle East (404). The development of infrastructure and the political stability that has been experienced in this country has helped in transforming it into one of the preferred business centers in the world. The city has been receiving tourists who not only come to view the beautiful sceneries but also seek medical services from some of the top local hospitals. In most of the cases, these tourists would get medical services and then spend some time touring the city or just relaxing in the beautiful beaches before traveling back home.
The attractiveness of the city has seen a number of leading hospitals in the world set up their branches in the city. Kuwait city is another preferred destination for tourists who are seeking medical attention. According to Vijaya, the city of Kuwait is the capital and most active city in Kuwait (55). It is one of the regional competitors of Dubai as a destination for tourists seeking medical services. Rochester city in Minnesota is another leading destination for tourists seeking medical attention.
The city boasts of some of the best hospitals in the world such as Mayo Clinic. It has attracted people, especially the wealthy, from all over the world who are battling cancer, cardiovascular problems, among other complex ailments. In a global context, it is one of the fiercest competitors of Dubai as a destination of tourists seeking medical solutions. In this paper, the researcher will compare medical tourism in Dubai, Kuwait city, and Rochester using various analytical tools.
Comparing Medical Tourism in Dubai, Kuwait City, and Rochester
Porters Five Forces Model
According to Vijaya, governments around the world have realized that they have a major role to play in popularizing their cities in order to attract foreigners (61). These three cities will be analyzed in the same approach that a company would be analyzed in order to understand the external environmental factors that may affect its ability to attract more tourists from all over the world. Porter’s Five Forces Model is one of the most appropriate tools that will help in understanding the position of each of the cities as a destination for tourists in need of medical services. The figure below shows a summary of the five forces that the cities have to deal with in order to attract more tourists from all over the world.
The first force that is defined in this model is the threat of substitutes. In the context of a city that is a hub for tourists looking for medical assistance, it may be a little challenging to define substitute products. The substitutes, in this case, will be considered as other cities within the country that can offer similar services. For the city of Dubai, the threat of substitutes within the United Arab Emirates is relatively low.
Other than Abu Dhabi, other emirates are relatively small in size and population and are not as developed as Dubai. However, this does not rule out the emergence of these local cities, especially the city of Abu Dhabi because it has also been expanding very fast over the last decade.
The city of Dubai faces a serious threat of new entrants into this emerging industry. Over the last two decades, this city has experienced unprecedented growth in infrastructure and other economic and social development. It is currently the undisputed leader in this industry.
However, other cities are emerging in the region which promises to offer serious competition in the near future. Riyadh city, Mecca and Medina are all emerging as major tourist attraction centers. These cities have also been working to upgrade their medical facilities to meet international standards. It means that soon tourists will be considering visiting these cities instead of Dubai.
The degree of rivalry that Dubai faces is relatively low compared to what the other two cities face. The major cities in this country do not offer any serious competitive threat to Dubai as a center for tourists. The bargaining power of buyers is relatively low. The United Arab Emirates is a middle-income economy. Life in this city is not as expensive as that in the developed economies in North America and Europe. However, the economy is higher than that of some of the regional countries. Life in Dubai is relatively expensive compared to that of other regional cities. For that reason, tourists seeking medical services would consider visiting neighboring cities where they are assured of spending less. However, the city is very attractive to medical tourists coming from North America and Europe.
The bargaining power of suppliers is high given that most of the equipment used in hospitals within the city are imported. Dubai imports some of the drugs it uses in its medical facilities, especially the machines used in specialized departments. The bargaining power of the suppliers of this equipment is high, especially the equipment used in the cancer centers.
Kuwait city, just like the city of Dubai, is facing a serious challenge of substitute products. The city of Doha is experiencing massive facelift in preparation for the FIFA 2020 World Cup. The government is making a massive investment in the city’s infrastructure, and one of the areas that have been given special attention is the medical sector. The government knows that it has to be ready to meet the medical needs of the visitors.
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Leisure is another major area that has been given serious attention to ensure that visitors will consider coming back to visit the city after the event as tourists. This means that Doha will become a major destination for tourists who need medical attention. It will offer Kuwait city a serious competition in this industry. Other cities are also emerging, and their emergence may have a negative impact on Kuwait city in terms of attracting tourists.
For Kuwait City, the threat of new entrants is relatively low. According to Furlong and Hedding, Kuwait city is the leading business center and with the highest population in the country (615). It has the most advanced infrastructural system in the country. All the major healthcare centers, both private and public, are located in this country. The strategic location of the city near a major harbor and its rich cultural setting also makes it popular with the tourists. With the low purchasing power of the locals, tourists are assured that the services they need will be available at a relatively low cost.
The degree of rivalry is another force in the model that can help in understanding the competitiveness of Kuwait city in this industry. It helps in understanding how the competing parties are employing various strategies to emerge at the top of the industry. According to Nolan and Schneider, the nature of the health industry and the code of conduct that the players have to abide by prohibiting them from any form of aggressive competition (319).
It is always the wish of everyone to stay away from hospitals, and anything that forces one to go there is often considered bad luck. Although sometimes these cities would advertise themselves in the international arena by mentioning the beautiful flora and fauna meant for the tourists and adequate medical services, they have avoided any competition seen as a direct attack on other cities.
The bargaining power of buyers is another force that this city has to deal with. For Kuwait city, the bargaining power of the buyers is relatively low. Kuwait is a low-income economy, with a large number of its citizens living in abject poverty. Living standards are low and so is the cost of living. For regional and international tourists seeking medical attention, this city is the most preferable one if their main concern is the associated costs. In this city, they will be assured that they will spend little in medical services, boarding costs, and any other extra services they may need before or after their medication.
The bargaining power of suppliers in Kuwait’s medical tourism industry is relatively high compared to that of Rochester city. Kuwait also faces the same challenge as Dubai because it also imports these machines and some of the drugs used in its hospitals.
Rochester city in Minnesota faces a serious threat of substitutes given its location. The United States is the leading economy in the world, with some of the advanced medical facilities. The presence of the Mayo Clinic in this city gives it a prestigious position as a destination for people seeking specialized medical attention. However, patients in this country have a number of alternatives to make because there are a number of other good hospitals within the United States. This means that compared to the other two cities, Rochester faces the highest level of threat of substitutes, while Kuwait city has the least threat.
The threat of new entrants is another force in this model that is important to analyze in order to understand the position of these three cities in the sector of medical tourism. In the context of the cities, new entrants will be considered the emergence of new cities as a major destination for people seeking medical attention within the region. For Rochester, the threat has been there, and it is not expected to worsen in the future. Most of the cities in the region that it is competing with are already developed, just like it is, and it is not expected that one of these cities will suddenly emerge as a stronger force than is the case currently.
The degree of rivalry for this city is high but regulated. The national government cannot allow them to engage in any smear campaigns against other cities in the country. The individual hospitals in these cities have also avoided any direct confrontation in the market because of the need to coordinate with other hospitals in research and development. This has made competitive rivalry relatively low for all three cities.
The bargaining power of the buyers is another force that may affect the number of people coming for medical tourism in these three cities. The bargaining power of the buyers in these cities varies. In Rochester city, the bargaining power of the buyers is very high. As stated earlier, the United States is the world’s leading economy with one of the highest living standards in the world. The clients in the local market know what they want and will opt to travel to other cities in order to get the quality they feel they deserve. They are choosy because they know they have a number of alternatives to make whenever they need medical attention. For those coming from other parts of the world, they may find the associated costs in this city prohibitive and may opt to get their medication elsewhere.
The bargaining power of the suppliers is the final force that should be considered in the analysis of these three cities. Given that the focus is on the medical tourism industry, suppliers are the pharmaceutical industries that manufacture and supply drugs all over the world and manufacturers of medical equipment. The bargaining power of the suppliers for Rochester city is relatively low as compared to the other two cities. Unlike Dubai and Kuwait cities that rely on imported machines and drugs to run their hospitals, most of the drugs and equipment used in hospitals in Rochester are manufactured locally. This reduces the bargaining power of the suppliers because of the variety of choices that these hospitals can make.
Competitive Profile Matrix
The analysis conducted above conducted using Porter’s Five Forces reveals that these three cities have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to medical tourism. In terms of the quality of services that they offer, Rochester city comes as the best, followed by the city of Dubai, while Kuwait comes last. In terms of pricing, Kuwait city comes as the least expensive hence the most preferable, followed by Dubai, while Rochester comes last. Competitive Profile Matrix will help in further critical analysis of these three cities based on specific factors that may make them attractive to tourists seeking medical services. Based on the data collected from reliable online sources and books, the table below shows a summary score of each of the three cities on different factors.
Table 1: Competitive Profile Matrix.
|Critical Success Factor||Weight||Rating||Score||Rating||Score||Rating||Score|
|The quality of products||0.2||3||0.6||5||1.0||5||1.0|
|Loyalty of the tourists||0.2||2||0.4||5||1.0||4||0.8|
|Advertising the industry||0.1||3||0.3||4||0.4||4||0.4|
|Management of the industry||0.1||3||0.3||4||0.4||5||0.5|
|Financial Position of the industry||0.1||3||0.3||4||0.4||5||0.5|
|Expansion of the industry||0.1||1||0.1||1||0.1||5||0.5|
|Market Share of the industry||0.1||2||0.2||3||0.3||4||0.4|
In terms of the quality of healthcare products offered in these three cities, Rochester offers the best, with a rating of 5. The hospitals in this city such as Mayo Clinic have state-of-the-art facilities unmatched anywhere in the world. These hospitals also have some of the best doctors in the world. Dubai comes second in terms of quality of service delivery while Kuwait comes last. In terms of the loyalty of the tourists, Dubai has the highest score because of the additional amenities it has for the visitors besides medical services.
Rochester comes second, while Kuwait comes last. In terms of advertising, the cities of Dubai and Rochester have a high score, especially given that governments in these cities have committed a lot of resources towards promoting awareness of the medical services available for the tourists. Kuwait has the least score in this field. In terms of price competitiveness, Kuwait offers the best of the three cities, followed by Dubai, while Rochester comes last.
Services at most of the hospitals in Rochester are offered at very high prices because of their high quality. In terms of the management of the industry, Rochester has the highest score. Government authorities in this city coordinate very closely with both public and private players to ensure that the best service delivery is offered both to the locals and visitors. Dubai comes second in this parameter while Kuwait comes last.
The financial position of the industry in Rochester is highest. Most of these players have financial independence and can easily be supported by the financial institution. Dubai comes second while Kuwait comes last. Most of the healthcare facilities in Kuwait are struggling to achieve financial independence. Expansion of the industry in, the cities of Dubai and Kuwait are not doing as well as Rochester. When looking at the market share of the three cities, Rochester has the best record, especially because it hosts one of the best hospitals in the world. Dubai comes second while Kuwait comes last. In overall performance, Rochester comes at the top, followed by Dubai, while Kuwait is the last.
In this section, the researcher will move further and introduce intensive strategies to help determine the current performance of these cities in medical tourism and what the future holds for them as a destination for tourists who are seeking medical attention. The figure below shows the three types of strategies that will be used at this stage.
As shown in the model above, the first strategy that the city of Dubai may consider in its effort to promote medical tourism is market penetration. According to Furlong and Hedding, market penetration involves increasing market share for the current products in the current market (616). Using these strategies, the city of Dubai will need to promote its existing products to its current customers without necessarily increasing any additional products.
The primary focus of this strategy is to avoid losing current customers to competitors. It entails a delicate balance of ensuring that the current market share is protected by meeting their needs in the best way possible. Dubai city should not lose its current customers to other regional or even international destinations. It must ensure that whenever they want to make a tour that also involves seeking medical attention, then their only focus is this city.
To do this, it will need to ensure that the city remains appealing to them every time they make a visit. It should leave them yearning to come back every time they have similar needs. In market penetration, there is also an attempt to attract clients in the local market who are using products offered elsewhere. There are a number of rich families in Dubai who only trust the services of top hospitals in Europe and North America. Dubai city, through the relevant stakeholders, should find a way of winning their trust and convince them that they can get even better services locally instead of traveling abroad. This new market segment may help in improving the quality of services offered locally hence improve the ranking of the city in the medical tourism industry.
Market development is another important strategy that this city can use. The city of Dubai has performed well in this area for different reasons. Many people travel to Dubai from all over the world to see the beautiful man-made sceneries, including the tallest building in the world. Once they are in the city for leisure, they realize that they can also benefit from the medical services offered by the local hospitals.
Based on their thrilling experience, these international customers would come back as tourists who also seek medical attention. Some even refer their friends and family members to the city. This is one of the reasons why the city of Dubai has been experiencing massive growth as a business and tourists’ destination over the past decade. It has successfully convinced the world that it has more to offer than its beautiful sceneries.
Product development is the third strategy that can enhance the competitiveness of the city. Dubai cannot boast of the best healthcare facility in the world. However, it is currently one of the world’s leading tourists’ destinations in the world. In order to increase value to visitors who come for medical services from other parts of the country, the stakeholders can find a way of making these visitors enjoy the beautiful sceneries that people come from all over the world to see. This way, they will be getting more value whenever they come for medical services.
Market penetration is the first strategy that this city should concentrate on. For Kuwait city, the main challenge in its market penetration strategies in winning the confidence of the clients in the local market. Most of the families who have greater financial capacities often consider traveling to other countries, including Dubai, to get better medical services. A greater effort should be placed on improving the quality of services offered at these hospitals. As Sengupta notes, the government of Kuwait has not shown goodwill towards improving the services offered at public hospitals (313). Leading private players in this industry have shunned away from the country because of the low purchasing power of the locals, making it difficult for them to afford high costs of medication.
Market development is one of the strategies that can prove to be challenging, but it promises greater success of the cities as a destination for tourists seeking medical services. Chambers and McIntosh define market development as the introduction of the existing products into the new markets (919). It involves looking for clients beyond the geographic borders of the cities. Kuwait City is performing dismally in market development.
The city’s medical services are relatively poor, and even the tourists who by chance end up visiting them do not consider coming back in the future. This has made it impossible to attract international clients. The government may need to intervene and equip major public medical centers to international standards. It should also create an enabling environment for private players so that they can consider investing in this city. The security should be improved to assure visitors that when they visit they will always be safe.
The third approach to increasing the number of people visiting these cities for medical purposes under this strategy is product development. According to Nolan and Schneider, product development involves increasing sales by modifying or improving existing products (323). In this context, the three cities may need to add more value to the products they offer their patients. Kuwait city has a lot to do in terms of product development.
It may start by improving the security and safety of the visitors to eliminate undesirable memories such as robberies or unexplained attacks. The government may also need to put more effort into developing the infrastructure so that it can appeal to the international community. According to Chambers and McIntosh, a lot should be done to reinvent the medical sector in this country (922). So many specialized medical services, especially major operations of the heart and advanced treatment of cancer are not available in this city. Finding ways of offering such specialized services locally may be a great step towards achieving product development for this city.
According to Hvidt, Intensive Strategy often focuses on the three areas discussed above (412). However, there is the fourth area of diversity which is equally important but often ignored when conducting analysis using the model, especially in the case of the city of Kuwait. Medical tourism can be boosted when a city considers diversifying what is made available to visitors. The government of Kuwait should commit resources to develop the city into a hub of business and social amenities for people who want to take a holiday away from their busy daily chores. It would mean that when one is making a trip to this city for medical reasons, he or she has expectations to have a unique experience by visiting the beaches, the beautiful man-made islands, the tall beautiful buildings, the parks, shopping experience, and many other thrilling types of scenery. This diversification gives the city an edge over its competitors.
The two analytical tools used above have already given an indication that Rochester and Dubai cities are having better performance than Kuwait city in terms of medical tourism. Rochester city’s performance in this industry is slightly higher than that of Dubai, a fact that can be attributed to the presence of one of the world’s leading hospitals in the city. Market penetration is one of the strategies that can help the city improve its performance. Rochester city will also need to use the same strategy to protect its market share in the industry, but its primary focus will be on improving the experience of the visitors beyond the high-quality services they get.
Market development is the second strategy that can be very crucial for this firm in its attempt to achieve competitiveness. Rochester city is not popular outside of the United States, but Mayo Clinic is because of its high ranking among the best healthcare facilities in the world. For that matter, most of the tourists come specifically for medical services at this facility. This has enabled the city to attract tourists from the local and international community. This city will need to take advantage of its strength, which in this case is its ability to offer high-quality medical services, to attract more clients from the international community. The city authorities should help in promoting the name of Mayo Clinic and other local hospitals in the international arena.
The third approach to product development is also very important. Rochester is known for its high-quality medical facilities, especially at Mayo Clinic. When these tourists come, they do not expect much other than high-quality healthcare services. The city can find a way of giving them a new experience that can make them have memorable moments other than what they experience at the hospitals. It may involve improving tourism in the city so that these visitors can have fun before and after receiving medication. This way, they can always expect more than just quality medication when visiting the city.
Like Kuwait city, Rochester city should emulate Dubai when it comes to diversification. The city comes in a distant second in terms of diversification. It is a city in the world’s largest economy, and has one of the best healthcare centers in the world. The city has improved infrastructure, but it is not a major business and tourist hub when compared to other cities such as New York or Chicago.
To be in the same league as Dubai in terms of diversification, the authorities here may need to boost trade, improve the sceneries and other tourists’ attraction centers, and popularize the city as a tourist destination. The government must understand that diversification is a strategy that will help it improve medical tourism, other than improving the services that it is currently offering. The stakeholders in this industry should have a better understanding of what these unique tourists may need besides medical services. Like Dubai, it should consider creating a unique shopping experience for visitors who come for medical attention.
According to Vijaya, sometimes the bargaining power of the suppliers or distributors may be very strong that it affects the profitability in a given industry (65). In such instances, it becomes necessary for the relevant stakeholders to take control of supplies or distribution to gain a competitive edge in the market. The three cities of Dubai, Kuwait, and Rochester may find this strategy effective when promoting medical tourism. They can embrace forward integration, backward integration, or horizontal integration as shown in the figure below.
Forward integration involves gaining control or ownership over the retailers or distributors. In the case of these three cities, forward integration may involve active engagement of the stakeholders in medical tourism to ensure that the number of brokers reduced to the lowest level, and that all the visitors are provided with the best services they need. The individual players, which in this case are the hospitals and hotels where these visitors will stay, should have full control of the management of the visitors without any influence of agents who may want to benefit unfairly from this trade. They should set up their own systems and structures that will ensure that they have full control in service delivery to these clients.
Backward control involves gaining control or ownership of the supplies. In the analysis above, it was noted that the cities of Dubai and Kuwait suffer from the high bargaining power of the suppliers because they are forced to import most of the equipment used in the local hospitals. These two cities can find a way of reducing this power through backward integration. To do this, the governments of Dubai and that of Kuwait may need to make direct investments into this industry to ensure that most of this equipment is manufactured locally. The other alternative may be to create an enabling environment that would attract foreign investors into the local market.
The primary aim of these two cities should be to have either public or private manufacturers of the medical equipment within the local economy. For Rochester, the bargaining power of the suppliers is relatively low hence this strategy is of little significance. Another approach that these cities can take in their backward integration strategy would be to have control over tourism promotion and internationally. Relying on private tourism agents to source for tourists coming into these cities may not be adequate.
Moreover, these agents are always willing to take these tourists to other cities as long as they receive payments. The authorities in Dubai, Kuwait, and Rochester should establish tourism boards to promote these cities locally and internationally.
Horizontal integration, according to Chambers and McIntosh, involves taking control or ownership over competitors (932). In the context of companies, this would involve acquisitions and takeovers as a way of reducing market competition and increasing market share. However, this strategy may not be feasibly possible in the context of medical tourism. This strategy can only be used by the individual firms within this industry. For instance, Mayo Clinic may consider setting up a clinic in Dubai because of the popularity of the city among tourists. It is expected that the profits made by this clinic in the foreign market will be repatriated, and this will benefit Rochester, it’s a home city.
The critical analyses of these cities using the above tools have revealed a number of factors that may have both positive and negative impacts on their development. In this section, the researcher will use another model, SWOT Matrix, to help in further analysis of the cities, specifically focusing on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths. This way, it can be clear how they can use what they have currently to overcome challenges and take advantage of existing opportunities for growth. The analysis will be done on each of these cities in tabular form to see how they compare
It is now clear that the cities of Dubai and Rochester are performing well in the medical tourism industry. These two cities have fundamental factors that enable them to stand out as preferred destinations globally. For Dubai, it is the tourists’ hub with beautiful man-made sceneries while for Rochester it is home to one of the world’s leading hospitals. However, Kuwait city’s performance in comparison with these two cities is relatively low. In this section, the researcher will use the Boston Consulting Group Matrix to further analyze these three cities. This model will make it easy to understand what each of the cities can take advantage of to achieve maximum success in the industry.
|Question Marks |
|Cash cows |
Boston Consulting Group can help these cities in identifying products in this industry that offer them the best income and those that may need to be reinvented in order to offer the expected value. For Dubai, Spa and wellness services are very popular. Family sporting and psychological products also make this city popular among local and international tourists. However, it may need to reinvent its maternal care services. The model also shows that this city is not performing well in major surgical procedures. To promote medical tourism in the city, the stakeholders should consider promoting products that the global community trusts it can offer in the best way possible.
These stakeholders should also consider making improvements in the sectors identified as points of weakness. Kuwait City has a lot of improvement to make in the healthcare sector in order to match regional competitors such as Dubai. It is only in minor medical services that this city has registered satisfactory results. All major surgical operations are not effectively done here. In fact, most of the people living in this city are often forced to travel abroad to get quality medication. This is a sign that it has very little to offer to tourists who are traveling for medical purposes. This trend should change. The stakeholders in this industry should start by winning the trust of local clients.
For Rochester, it is clear that the city is performing very well in offering products that involve complex medical procedures. Mayo Clinic is trusted all over the world as an institution that offers the best surgical procedures. It is also a popular center for cancer and other related treatments. Most of the people traveling to this city are in need of advanced medical treatment. This city can improve its revenues from this industry by improving wellness and Spa services which are very popular among tourists. It should not ignore minor medical operations popular with tourists unless they are prohibited by the law.
Medical tourism as a clearly defined industry emerged recently, but people traveling for medical services out of their country is a phenomenon that has been in existence for several decades. The cities of Dubai, Kuwait, and Rochester have been analyzed using six tools to determine how they compare in this industry. Porter’s Five Forces Model analysis has revealed that Rochester enjoys a number of benefits that are not available to the cities of Dubai and Kuwait. The fact that hospitals in Kuwait and Dubai are forced to import most of the pieces of equipment they use at specialized departments increases the costs of their operations. However, hospitals in Rochester can access these types of equipment locally within the United States. In terms of the competitive rivalry of the industry, Dubai enjoys an advantage over the other two cities. It has no serious competitor in the region as opposed to Rochester and Kuwait which have to deal with major rivals in the regional market.
Competitive Profile Matrix shows that Rochester city has the highest score against Dubai and Kuwait. This impressive performance is largely attributed to the fact that Rochester city is located in the world’s largest economy. The presence of Mayo Clinic within this city and advanced infrastructure gave it an upper hand over its competitors. Dubai also had an impressive score, especially because of the advanced transport infrastructure and booming tourism industry. In most of these parameters, Kuwait city scored very poorly. The city has to improve its transport, healthcare, and security infrastructure to be able to compete with these other two cities.
Intensive Strategy has also helped in analyzing these cities and identifying strategies that they can use to achieve success in the industry. Market penetration strategy can help these cities make the best out of the existing market. Market development may help individual players in this industry to look for markets outside the local market, and product development may help these players to reinvent their products in the market.
The use of Integration Strategy has revealed that forward and backward integration can help these cities to improve their performance in this industry. Backward integration will make it possible to have power over the suppliers.
Dubai and Kuwait cities specifically stand to benefit from this backward integration because they have been affected by the power of the suppliers. Forward integration can help the three cities in eliminating brokers who always benefit at the expense of the local players and visitors. SWOT Matrix is one of the very popular models used when making an analysis of a firm or a business center. This model has revealed that the biggest strength of Dubai as a hub for tourists seeking medical attention is its attractive sceneries and infrastructure. The strength of Rochester is the presence of Mayo Clinic, one of the most trusted hospitals in the world.
For Kuwait city, the low cost of living is its main strength. The main weakness of Dubai is its inability to handle patients who need highly specialized care. For Kuwait, the main problem is poor infrastructure while Rochester’s high living standard is a major limitation. BCG Matrix also helped in identifying products which these cities can focus on, and those that they need to reinvent in order to make them more popular. Wellness products are performing well in Dubai, highly specialized healthcare in Rochester, while simple medical procedures are doing well in Kuwait city.
The city of Dubai has experienced massive growth over the past two decades as a global business hub and tourist destination. The infrastructural development and beautification of the city have turned it into an unmatched tourist center in the global market. Medical tourism is becoming a sub-sector within the tourism industry. Many people are now traveling to various parts of the world to tour and receive medical attention. This city needs to position itself appropriately to attract this new market segment. These tourists can help in increasing revenues for the city. As Sengupta says, medical tourism differs from conventional tourism (314).
These tourists may be interested in having some forms of leisure during their visit, but their primary aim is always to get medical treatment. This means that there has to be the right medical infrastructure that can meet their medical needs. It is only through this that they can be attracted to this city. The popularity of Dubai will be an added advantage if the stakeholders can work to ensure that the right medical needs are available. Based on the detailed analysis conducted above, the following recommendations will be appropriate for the city.
- Stakeholders in the medical sector should focus more on medical needs that are not available in some of the leading economies because of legal or moral factors. This is so because tourists are likely to come from these developed economies for these unique services.
- The government of Dubai should work closely with the private players in the medical tourism industry to ensure that the needs of the visitors are met in the best way possible. A public-private partnership may be particularly important for the development of medical tourism because some of the complex machines used in healthcare centers may be too expensive to be purchased by individuals. Through such partnerships, the government can equip public hospitals with such machines and private players can refer their patients to these public facilities whenever there is a need.
- Security is a major factor in promoting medical tourism in the country. The government of Dubai should give special focus to the issue of protecting its borders. Tourists should feel safe when visiting this city.
- Key players in this industry should find means and ways of offering advanced medical care in order to eliminate cases where locals are forced to travel from Dubai to other cities around the world to get specialized medication.
- The government of Dubai should be directly involved in promoting medical tourism among local and international tourists. It should be involved in promotional campaigns to let the international community understand the services available in this city.
- The financial market should be committed to supporting this industry to ensure that it achieves the expected growth. Most of the individual players in this industry may need loans in order to expand their operations. This support should be readily available to them.
- Players in conventional tourism such as the hoteliers and tour companies should work closely with hospitals and other medical agencies to ensure that all the needs of such tourists are properly met.
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