Yoon Ja-young ,
The Korea Times |
Gangnam District from southern Seoul has seen an increase in popularity for medical tourism patients from various countries who head to Gangnam for treatments. The district is now a brand worldwide due to Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style”.
The Gangnam-gu Office issued a report on the number of foreign patients who paid for services at medical facilities in the district that was estimated at around 33,000 for 2012, in the top 30 hospitals in Gangnam District.
A huge 34 percent increase is observed compared to 2011 when over 24,000 patients chose Gangnam as their medical travel destination. About 1/4 of these patients were US citizens, followed by Chinese at 22 percent and Japanese at 16 percent. Russian patients took 9 percent of the medical tourists in the district, followed by 4 percent Mongolians and 2 percent from Kazakhstan.
As for the treatment area, 30 percent of the patients went for internal medicine clinics, while 29 percent chose Gangnam for skin treatment or plastic surgery. 10 percent of the visitors saw the district as the place to get comprehensive medical checkup, while 16 percent opted for Korean traditional medicine.
South Korea is promoting medical tourism heavily and the campaign is led by Gangnam District. With its world-class hospitals such as Samsung Medical Center and Gangnam Severance Hospital and 365 mcs Obesity Clinic, the Gangnam District is also famous for its plastic surgery and dermatological clinics.
As in all the rising medical tourism destinations, quality facilities and medical staff combined with the services offered at affordable prices compared with other developed countries, the rise is certain. The Gangnam-gu Office explained that the district has been leading efforts to attract more and more medical tourists, building up a network incorporating not only hospitals but also hotels and department stores. It also actively promoted the strength of the district’s private medical services, including giving presentations in China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
Kang Hyun-Seop, the director of the health administration division at the Gangnam-gu Office stated: “In 2013, we plan to designate a ‘medical street’ in the district. We will also initiate liability insurance for foreign patients”.
The Gangnam District aims to attract 37,000 medical travelers in 2013.