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Korea 3rd favorite country among foreign medical tourists
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2018.10.24 11:44
  • Updated 2018.10.24 11:44
  • comments 0

International medical tourists have ranked Korea at third place in the list of their favorite destinations, a survey has shown.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization’s “2017 survey on Korean medical and wellness tourism,” Korea was the third country after the United States and Germany as the destination for medical tourism.

The KTO conducted the opinion poll on visitors from 12 countries that sent a large number of patients to Korea as of 2016 – China, U.S., Japan, Russia, Vietnam, Canada, Thailand, Philippines, UAE, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongol – and Kuwait considering its strategic importance.

And the pollsters found Korea’s recognition as the destination of medical tourism stood at 32.5 percent, compared to the U.S.’s 39.0 percent and Germany’s 33.6 percent.

Showing above-average rate of recognition of Korea as a medical tourism destination were Vietnamese respondents with 62.3 percent, Chinese with 49.3 percent and Thais with 45.3 percent.

As the destination of medical tourism, Korea was also at third, but the gap with the No. 2 Germany was wide. While 39.5 percent of respondents liked Korea, 52.8 percent and 52.0 percent, respectively, preferred the U.S. and Germany.

Regarding preference, too, Vietnamese (73.0 percent), Mongol (62.0 percent) and Chinese (51.4 percent) visitors gave higher than average marks.

Before they visit Korea for medical tourism, the largest share of foreigners compared the country with Singapore.

As factors taken into account in selecting the destination of medical tourism, the respondents cited excellent skills of medical workers (43.2 percent), up-to-date medical equipment and facility (33.1 percent), medical institutions’ reliability (32.8 percent).

As to reasons they finally selected Korea as a medical tourism destination, the respondents also cited excellent medical skills most (48.6 percent). Following the skill factor were service infrastructure (35.8 percent), and equipment-facility (34.1 percent).

Visitors from Russia (37.3 percent), Uzbekistan (37.5 percent) and Kazakhstan (43.5 percent) also cited “optimal price level” as a relatively important factor.

The largest share, or 34.6 percent, used Korean medical institutions for “hospitalization and beauty care,” followed by “hospitalization-treatment” (29.1 percent), and “outpatient care-beauty care” (12.8 percent).

The purpose of using medical institutions also showed differences by country. Up to 41.0 percent of Chinese visitors came to Korea for “hospitalization-treatment,” as did the 45.5 percent of Mongols and 68.8 percent of UAE patients. On the other hand, 27.4 percent of Japanese and 45.8 percent of Russian visitors used foreign medical institutions for “outpatient care-treatment.”

Nearly seven out of 10 percent (69.8 percent) for foreign patients coming to Korea used general hospitals.

The largest portion of international medical tourist usually visit medical checkup centers most (12.6 percent). However, those who visited Korea for medical tourism visited plastic surgeons (22.3 percent) and dermatologists (15.1 percent) more.

The level of satisfaction with Korea as a medical tourism destination was 78.8 percent, lower than Germany (89.7 percent), Turkey (84.4 percent) and Singapore (81.1 percent).


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