The Booming Medical Tourism Industry in Korea – Plastic Surgery

Aerial view of Lotte World Tour in Seoul

The Booming Medical Tourism Industry in Korea – Plastic Surgery

South Korea’s economy is currently very prosperous compared to previous history. It is the fourth largest growing economy in Asia. South Korea is known for its technological advancements and it’s popular culture is gaining recognition worldwide. However, there is another field that is becoming more popular in South Korea that many people may be unaware of; the medical tourism industry. Read the following article by Patients Beyond Borders to learn about the medical tourism industry in South Korea:

South Korea

Korea’s star as a health travel destination has risen rapidly rising over the past two decades. Korea boasts more than 25 modern international hospitals, including Asan Medical Center, established by the founder of Hyundai and one of the world’s largest clinical campuses, with more than 3000 beds. Thirty South Korean hospitals and clinics are now JCI-accredited, more than any other nation in North Asia.

Korea’s foray into medical tourism began with service to Japanese patients, despite a sometimes uneasy political relationship between the two countries. Patients flock from Japan to take advantage of the huge cost savings and excellent care Korea has to offer. Korea also receives thousands of patients annually from Eastern Russia.

Over the past ten years, the Korean government has initiated a set of measures to promote medical tourism by aiding hospitals in their marketing and by easing regulations. The government is also pushing to simplify the process of issuing visas for overseas patients, especially those from Asian nations.

While South Korea has sunk millions into promoting medical tourism worldwide, language and culture barriers persist, particularly for the English-speaking patient. Nearby Russia and Japan remain Korea’s largest source of inbound patient flow.

The Medical Tourism industry in Seoul, South Korea is growing at an exponential rate. It has been reported that South Korea are experiencing at least a 20% increased every single year. The South Korean government can see the growth potential in the medical tourism that it is allocating government funds to invest into the industry. The video below talks more this:

The Financial Times also has an article about South Korea’s aspiration to rapidly rise in the medical tourism industry. It wants to go beyond plastic surgery and into other health sectors as well. Read the article to learn more:

South Korea’s ambitions in medical tourism

South Korea’s government this year announced plans to further encourage medical tourism, including a help centre providing legal support to foreign patients unhappy with their treatment, and relaxed visa requirements for medical tourists. The Korea Tourism Organisation is making ambitious forecasts for the sector: it projects that the annual number of medical tourists will rise from 399,000 last year to 998,000 in 2020, with resultant revenue rising from from Won1tn to Won3.5tn.

The government is encouraging South Korean hospital groups to establish businesses abroad; at the end of last year there were 111 such operations in 19 countries including China, the US and Mongolia. Meanwhile, it wants to attract foreign hospital operators to invest in special economic zones that have been established in areas such as Jeju, a southern holiday island, and Songdo and Incheon, in the area around Seoul. However, the first such proposal was blocked in September, when the government ruled that China Stem Cell Health Group was not qualified to build its planned for-profit hospital on Jeju. Read more…

The country has a different information booth solely dedicated to medical tourism right when you get off the plane already. It is evident that South Korean is actively enhancing its facilities, education, and services to concrete it’s place as one of the top medical tourism countries for its consumers.


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