Thumbay Group's activities span 13 segments, including health, education, and real estate. What was the process of your diversification?
Our core businesses are in education, healthcare, and research. Although we are diversified across 13 sectors, most of the subsidiary businesses such as pharmacies, nutrient outlets, health clubs, retail opticals, publishing, health communications, hospitality and trading, marketing and distribution, diagnostics, and real estate are related to our core businesses. We have grown and diversified as per the Group's vision and our focus has been significant in the process. We consider intelligent diversification and timely innovation the mainstays of continued growth.
What is Thumbay Group doing to meet the demand of the health sector in the UAE, which has grown 60% YoY?
Our hospitals treat 2,500 patients daily. We deliver healthcare services through our four Thumbay Hospitals in Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, and Fujairah, a 25-chair dental hospital in Dubai, five state-of-the-art Thumbay Clinics and Thumbay Labs in Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain, all in addition to Thumbay Pharmacy outlets across the UAE. Our network of hospitals and clinics are among the largest healthcare networks in the UAE. We offer the most modern treatment and infrastructure across all major specialties. Thumbay Clinics are envisioned as advanced family clinics that focus on personal services, affordability, and convenience, bringing superior healthcare to people's doorsteps. We plan to open many more academic hospitals, clinics, diagnostic labs, and pharmacies in the UAE, as well as abroad, to meet the ever-increasing demand for quality healthcare. There are many healthcare providers in the country, but we are different from every one of them. The difference is that all of our hospitals have an academic setup, and we are the only ones doing this in the private sector here. We have already entered the medical tourism field in a big way and plan to further expand our medical tourism services.
Thumbay Group is actively engaged in turning Dubai into an international medical hub. What do you think are the best practices for successful medical tourism marketing?
Dubai is now a leading international medical destination. The visionary leadership of this country has already recognized the medical tourism potential of the UAE and initiated several plans for projects to tap into its full extent. It is already doing its best, and there is a special visa for medical tourism already in place. Thumbay Medical Tourism (TMT) renders a large portfolio of travel and medical services to medical tourists from all over the world, and we also arrange on-demand translator services, accommodation services, customized treatment packages, preferred cuisine, travel arrangements, priority appointments, and airport transfer. Each medical tourist is attended to by a dedicated TMT staff. Most packages also include tourist site visits, a dedicated fleet of vehicles, and spa and recreational therapies. We now have the representative offices in Ghana, Nigeria, and other countries in order to bring in patients. We are ambitious in the medical tourism business and in the next five years we want to bring in 1,000 patients a day from 20 different countries. TMT has recently opened a Welcome Center at Sharjah International Airport, a first of its kind in the UAE, which serves as a facilitation center for medical tourists visiting the country through the airport, and will be their first point of contact in taking care of all their needs from the moment of arrival. More such centers are planned at the other airports in the UAE as well.
Thumbay is set to build the region's biggest private academic hospital in Ajman. What are the targets of this master plan and how will it contribute to the UAE's development?
The new hospital, which is expected to be completed by 2017-18, will be the biggest private academic hospital in the region. It is envisioned as a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, 400-bed smart facility, which will be the teaching hospital of Gulf Medical University. The hospital will be equipped with modern infrastructure and will be constructed over 320,000sqft and stand at four floors with over 120 clinics. The hospital will feature a special robotic pharmacy, a first of its kind in the region, and will have quaternary care facilities. The hospital will also have a fully fledged radiology department with PET-CT scan, a first of its kind in the northern Emirates. With the ultramodern facilities of the hospital, we aim to continue this tradition of providing high quality healthcare services at affordable costs.
Thumbay is planning to open representative offices in 20 countries, as it aspires to become an iconic international brand. How is this plan evolving thus far?
Plans are afoot to soon open an office in Nigeria, where we already have a representative. With the expansion projects underway in Ghana, we will soon have an office there as well. Offices are also planned in the other GCC countries, with the ones in Oman and Qatar expected to be operational in accordance with Thumbay Group's expansion plans there.
What is Thumbay's prospect and strategic plan for 2016?
We are following a strategic plan called Vision 2020, which outlines our expansion programs for the next five years. The new year will see many more new projects in the UAE and elsewhere. An important event will be the inauguration of Thumbay Hospital in Hyderabad, India. Our project in Ghana is in progress, and out of the 15 hospitals that we plan to open worldwide, those in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Ghana will be opening shortly. New outlets of Thumbay Pharmacy, Thumbay Clinics, Thumbay Labs, Nutri Plus Vita Stores, ZO & MO Opticals, Body & Soul Health Club & Spa, and Blends and Brews Coffee Shoppe will also be opened in 2016.
What is your opinion on the current estate of the health sector in the UAE?
There are a lot of healthcare providers now, and the layman feels that it is going to get saturated; however, that is not true. The population is increasing, and with projects like Expo 2020 the population is growing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I am sure that more facilities like this will be needed, and the government is encouraging the private sector to develop healthcare and education—and for that we receive good support in this country.