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Regulation Announced in Dubai Healthcare City to Encourage Startups, Medical Tourism Services, to Open in the Free Zone

Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), announced a new regulation for entrepreneurs and investors offering services such as medical tourism services, travel agencies, tour services, salons, restaurants and cafés to open their first company within the free zone.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market, the leading international travel and tourism event running from 25-28 April, 2016, at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Under the provision of the regulation, companies can now establish a new company in Dubai Healthcare City, the world’s largest healthcare free zone.

The Service Provider Category regulation, issued by Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR), the independent regulatory body within Dubai Healthcare City, is in response to the increasing interest from investors keen to bring value-added and innovative services in the free zone.

The impact of the new regulation has a direct bearing on the Authority’s mandate to raise the performance of the free zone and to attract further investment, said Her Excellency Dr Raja Al Gurg, Vice-Chairperson and Executive Director of Dubai Healthcare City Authority.

“A dynamic free zone model is based on a balance between governance and flexibility,” said Dr Al Gurg. “Through new regulations, we strengthen Dubai Healthcare City’s investment environment and ensure continuous growth in the tourism and service sectors in the Emirate. A framework with healthcare and complimentary services is a necessary component of our model.”

Dubai Healthcare City

Dubai Healthcare City

As per the previous regulation, a company under the Service Provider Category could open in DHCC if first, it is establishing a branch of a parent company registered in the UAE; second, the company is under the same ownership; and third, the company has been operating in a similar service category for a minimum of two years.

Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, CEO, DHCR, said, “DHCR will facilitate the registration of companies under the Service Provider Category and work closely with relevant authorities.”

He stressed the importance of new regulations to close the gap of required services. “More than 10,000 people work in the free zone to provide the best patient care. When a patient or a visitor has access to additional services, we enhance his or her experience,” said Dr AlBlooshi.

As of March 2016, there are close to 200 non-clinical facilities operating in DHCC, of which a third are service providers. The leading services are restaurants, convenience stores and beauty salons.

Elaborating on how the new regulation will encourage potential entrepreneurs and investors, Bader Saeed Hareb, CEO, Investment Sector, Dubai Healthcare City, said, “It improves our business-friendly environment and our global competitiveness. This will help us further develop a healthcare and wellness ecosystem that meets the needs of the community we serve, including the medical traveler. Following the new rule, we expect an increased interest from investors with unique offerings, bringing value to the free zone and to the region.”

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