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Already one of world's 10 most visited cities, Dubai is counting on more people like Ivanova to mix their holidays with high-end treatments for a luxurious form of medical tourism, rivaling Thailand and India.Among the challenges Dubai may face as it seeks to capture a share of an industry worth more than $30 billion, is that it's too expensive to compete on cost with destinations like India, and isn't highly regarded enough to compete on quality with the U.S. and Europe, according to Josef Woodman, chief executive officer of Patients Beyond Borders, which publishes books on medical tourism.The government is now focusing on branding Dubai as a health care hub through advertisements as well as partnerships with medical tourism facilitators, who will package deals for visitors, said Laila al-Jassmi, who until last year headed the Dubai Health Authority's Health Policy and Strategy Sector.Clinics such as the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital have promoted their services directly to residents of eastern European and Gulf countries, the main markets Dubai is seeking to target.While Dubai introduced universal health care this year, large gaps exist between state-provided health care and private care, according to Alpen Capital, an investment bank focused in the Gulf and Asia.
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