The government on Wednesday unveiled a set of plans to promote medical tourism with the aim to attract 1 million foreign patients per year by 2020. In the “global health care promotion scheme” the government pledged to support marketing campaigns, ease immigration and investment rules and improve transport, accommodation, consulting and other services for international patients.
It also includes measures to help domestic medical service providers expand overseas. The Ministry of Health and Welfare said the lack of relevant rules and systems hampered Korea’s health care tourism business despite the nation’s high quality medical services.
The number of foreign patients coming to Korea stands around 120,000 this year, a mere 0.59 percent in the world’s booming medial tourism market.
The world medical market for foreign patients has doubled from 66 trillion won ($6.1 billion) in 2006 to 110 trillion won in 2012 according to a government data. The government doubled its goal for 2020 from the previous 500,000 to 1 million.