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Medical Tourism Gets Boost

by Bae-Jisok ,  The Korea Times | 2009-04-28

Hospitals will be able to aggressively target potential patients from overseas in medical tourism promotion drives starting Friday.

Along with clinics and other medical facilities here, they will be able to use advertisements and team up with travel agencies and other organizations to attract people from abroad to come for treatment in Korea, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said Tuesday.

According to the revised Medical Law, they will be free to attract foreigners through various promotional activities. Before, hospitals were only allowed to admit foreign patients who came of their own accord.

Forty-four major hospitals, including the "Big Four" ― Seoul National University Hospital, Samsung Medical Center, Asan Medical Center and Yonsei Severance Hospital ― and some national and public hospitals, will reserve 5 percent of their beds for foreigners.

The law revision is expected to highlight Korea as a medical tourism destination. The ministry expects foreign visitors treated here to top 140,000 by 2015.

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