Korea is already a popular destination for patients from across the Far East seeking cost-effective plastic surgery and other medical treatment. Now, government officials plan to promote the country as a medical tourism destination.
The number of foreigners who are heading to Korea for cosmetic procedures and pricey plastic surgery is on the rise.
More than 50,000 tourists traveled to Seoul for medical procedures last year, according to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute. The city government hopes to lure foreigners in need of affordable but high quality medical services that often cannot be found in their homeland.
“We plan to promote Seoul’s outstanding medical services in cooperation with other big international events such as the G-20 summit in November,” Choi Hang-do of the Urban Competitiveness Headquarters told The Korea Times.
Previously, many people went to Korea for less invasive cosmetic surgery procedures, like Botox injections. But now patients are flocking to Seoul asking for complex plastic surgery procedures at a fraction of the price charged in other countries. In addition, foreign patients are seeking out Korean doctors to perform procedures that were developed by Korean surgeons, like autologous fat grafts and facial bone corrections.
Last year, the city opened the Seoul Medical Tourism Support Center, and city officials plan to select collaborative medical institutions to help promote medical tourism across various sectors, including dermatology, plastic surgery, and dentistry. They also plan to strengthen overseas marketing campaigns. The Seoul government sees medical tourism as a big revenue booster since, on average, medical visitors tend to stay longer and spend more money than general tourists.
The South Korean government is supporting the nation’s medical tourism industry in the hopes of securing the country’s future as a key destination for patients seeking treatment abroad.