South Korea Medical Tourism Industry


One can find a perfect blend of the ancient Oriental tradition and modern technology amidst the mountainous terrain of South Korea. The country is presently witnessing a rapid development in terms of industry, trade and commerce and has emerged as one of the top global performers in all spheres.People travel from around the world to this country in order to experience its rich culture, beautiful tourist spots and the delicious and eclectic cuisine.

Quality of life in South Korea has greatly improved, owing to the advancement of medical technology. Medical tourists are largely attracted to South Korea seeking the best services in cosmetic/plastic surgery. As per the latest statistics released by the Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), the number of medical tourists travelling to this country is nearly reaching a whopping 300,000. It has also been observed that Korean medical tourism is most popular with customers hailing from five particular countries – China, USA, Russia, Mongolia and Japan.

Medical Procedures In Demand

In order to provide healthcare in South Korea, all professionals must be licensed by the Ministry of Health. Apart from being the Asian hub for cosmetic/plastic surgeries, a large number of South Korean healthcare facilities are known for their superior skin care treatments. However, the nation’s ambitions extend well beyond just plastic/cosmetic surgeries, with its government constantly endeavoured towards promoting medical tourism here by providing funding and marketing assistance to this sector.
A number of medical procedures ranging from cancer treatment and organ transplantation to infertility treatment and spinal treatment make this country a hit among medical tourists as compared to its Asian counterparts. It is one of the five countries which specialise in the advanced method of Cyberknife robotic surgery used for the treatment of patients diagnosed with cancer.

South Korea Medical Travel

Spinal problems, cyberknife surgery and cancer treatments are performed with high-end technologies in leading hospitals in South Korea. Source:

Healthcare facilities here are of high quality, extremely efficient and cheap. For most international patients, quality health care at lowered rates is one of the main incentives, along with the added benefit of recovery in a pleasant environment.

It has been estimated that most medical procedures in South Korea cost around 5 to 10 times lesser than in most developed countries and people are able to save up to 30%-45% of the expenses that they would have to pay for similar medical procedures in the US.

For instance, getting a nose surgery done in South Korea would cost a patient around USD $4000-$6000 while the same costs him/her around USD $10,000-$12,000 in America. Also, a heart valve replacement surgery which costs about 2,00,000 USD in the US is estimated to cost only about 25,000 USD in South Korea.

Travel, Accessibility And Infrastructure

Foreign tourists can stay here up to 180 days, provided they have a visa, and are required to submit certain documents to the South Korean embassy. However, US citizens can stay up to 90 days without a visa. Medical tourists in South Korea must be invited by their healthcare providers or medical tourism agency in order to seek any treatment in the country.

The capital city, Seoul, is well-connected to all major cities of the world by air, thus making the country easily accessible. One can find a special information desk for medical tourists at the Incheon International Airport, which is as large as the one catering to all other kinds of visitors. The hospitals here are well equipped and offer a wide range of health examination programs that are designed to meet the needs of each individual patient.

Medical Tourism in South Korea
According to the IMTJ, the revenue from medical tourism in South Korea is expected to jump to 3.5 trillion won in 2020 from 1.01 trillion won in 2013 due to the supreme accessibility of the country. Source: Evilbish via

Seoul: South Korea’s Medical Tourism Hub

Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is the seat of most key players in the South Korean medical tourism industry. The government of this country has collaborated with many leading institutes in Seoul to promote medical tourism here. It provides a hassle free environment for standard medical treatments.

One can also look forward to the Oriental medicine treatments Seoul offers, which can be used to treat bone, joint and spinal disorders. The warm and welcoming population of Seoul, along with the beautiful tourist spots and delicious local cuisine, makes this city a popular destination among tourists.

Not only does this country provide its visitors with health care at lowered rates, but it also offers them top-notch facilities with the latest equipment backed by its world leading IT systems. It ranks third among countries with the maximum number of CT scanners and MRI machines. Many hospitals in South Korea also provide separate help desks and assistance to medical tourists in order to cater to their needs along with necessary translation facilities.

With the rise in healthcare expenses throughout the United States and Europe, patients are largely turning towards Asian markets for medical treatments. As a result of this, Asian countries have entered this sector and are constantly geared towards upgrading their all-round standards of healthcare facilities, providing standard services at relatively lower rates than the developed countries.

South Korea, too, has stepped up and is becoming a fast leader in this industry, well ahead of its Asian counterparts, despite the fact that medical tourism was introduced here recently, around the year 2008.


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Medical Tourism Speaker and Consultant.

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