The South Korean government is not exactly embarrassed by the country’s Asia-wide reputation for plastic surgery; it’s too big a moneymaker for that. But the authorities are eager to attract foreigners in the future with a wider range of medical services.
Boasting state-of-the-art facilities at the best hospitals, and competitive pricing, the Korean Health Ministry has been boosting medical tourism since 2009, says Lim In-taek, head of the ministry’s Bureau of Health Industry.
Though his office has done “very little real promotion,” he says, word of mouth boosted visitor numbers from 60,000 in 2009 to 80,000 in 2010. “This is a very flourishing area,” says Mr. Lim – flourishing enough for him to have set a target for 2015 of 300,000 medical tourists.