New medical facilities’ contracts across the GCC Countries are expected to hit $9.53 billion by the end of 2014 — a 25% increase on 2013. Dubai plans to attract 500,000 patients for treatment by 2020 as part of its drive to become a center for medical excellence in the region and bring a new stream of visitor revenue, according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). To cater for these patients, the DHA said, 18 private and four public hospitals will be built over the next few years, Arab News reported. The UAE has doubled its health care budget since 2007 and currently ranks among the top 20 destinations for medical tourism. The country spends 3.3% of its GDP on health care, the third highest in the GCC. According to Alpen Capital Investment Banking, the UAE’s medical tourism sector drew revenue of $1.69 billion in 2013. Visa rules in the UAE were changed to help encourage medical tourism, simplifying the process for patients to access the country. Dubai Tourism and Marketing believes this market could be worth as much as $30 million a year.