Korea Attracting Middle Easterners for Medical Tourism

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12/03/2014 | By: Guest Contributor

Many countries around the world have established themselves as medical tourism destinations. Catering to foreigners traveling abroad, medical centers in Thailand and Turkey offer patients all-inclusive travel packages.

With a prolific aim to quadruple the number of medical tourists to 1 million by 2020, Korea is boosting their own tourism efforts by enticing Middle Easterners.

Minister of Health and Welfare, Moon Hyung-pyo, stated, "Our goal is to see one million medical tourists a year by 2020. The number of medical tourists is expected to reach 250,000 by the end of 2014. Whether we can achieve these targets all depends on the Middle East. The Middle East countries offer huge opportunities for Korea. Although they make enormous money exporting oil globally, they depend on overseas medical services because of a lack of infrastructure there. 120,000 people from the UAE and 200,000 from Saudi Arabia visit other countries annually to get medical treatment.”

According to the Ministry of Health, 60,201 medical tourists in 2009 increased to over 200,000 in 2013. Korean revenue has soared over $368 million in 2013.

Moon Hyung-pyo added, "The portion of foreigners visiting the country to get cosmetic surgery is expected to decrease as Korean hospitals are diversifying their services in response to rising demand from foreign patients. There are reasons why people around the world keep visiting Korea for medical services. It will become like our televisions that are dominating the global market. They know Korea offers better services at cheaper costs.”

Why Choose Korea for Medical Tourism

With a mounting population, Korea has been struck by a demand to provide affordable, immediate medical services. What sets Korea apart from other advanced medical tourism destinations?

Cosmetic Surgery – Advanced cosmetic surgery technology combined with low medical expenses.

Skin Care Treatments – Highest level of medical technology in the skin care industry.

Hair Transplant – First in the world to perform follicle implant procedure without incision.

Medical Screening – Progressive screening measures in Korea includes MRI, CI, colonoscopy, and gastroscopy (typically not covered in most countries).

Traditional Korean Medicine – Unique treatments that have been researched for over 2000 years.

Wellness & Therapy – Provides top-class natural environment for healing of the body and mind.

Significant Facts on Korean Tourism

Health tourism in Korea has seen a 32.5% increase compared to last year. The average hospitalization period of patients is 12.3 days and the gender ratio of foreign patients indicates a firm divide — 39.7% for male and 60.3% for female.

Patients are coming from over 150 nations — with China consuming a large portion of Korean medical tourism followed by the US, Japan and Mongolia.  The top medial requests are internal medicine, medical check-ups, dermatology, gynecology, orthopedics and general surgery.

Medical tourism is rapidly increasing in popularity across the globe — appealing to patients with high-quality and affordable treatments in the areas of cosmetic dentistry, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, heart surgery, hair loss, infertility and weight loss.


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