South Korean govt eager for piece of medical tourism pie

by Channel NewsAsia's Korea Bureau Chief Lim Yun Suk ,  Channel NewsAsia | 2009-03-27

SEOUL : Many South Korean pop stars and actors have gained popularity, mainly across Asia, for their looks. And that is why for several years now, foreigners have started to flock to South Korea to get plastic surgery.

The South Korean government is now eager to pursue this further, and wants a piece of the huge medical tourism pie.

A hospital located in Myeongdong, a popular shopping area among Koreans and foreigners visiting Seoul, specialises in plastic surgery.

Most of the patients are Koreans but in recent years, there has been an increase in foreigners - mainly from nearby Japan - coming here to receive treatment.

Ryu Ji Ho, head, Clinic Arumdaumnara, said: "I believe that the popularity of Korean pop stars overseas have contributed to bringing in foreigners to Korean institutions, especially those (specialising) in facial and plastic surgery."

That may be why foreigners started to come to South Korea in the beginning. But these days, many are believed to be coming here for more than plastic surgery.

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