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News Asia Pacific

South Korean doctors are preparing for more foreign patients. (DTI/Photo Rudyanto Wijaya)
Jan 19, 2010 | News Asia Pacific

South Korea drives medical tourism with global conference

by Daniel Zimmermann, DTI

HONG KONG/LEIPZIG, Germany: In an effort to promote medical and dental tourism in Asia, the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) has announced its first Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference, which will be held in Seoul in South Korea. The event, which has support of the government, is expected to draw over 1,000 experts from 25 countries to the capital of South Korea, including healthcare and insurance providers, travel agents and referring physicians.

According to the MTA, the conference is scheduled to take place in early April 2010.

South Korea is the latest country in Asia to encourage medical tourism. Last year, the Chung government passed legislation to allow hospitals to advertise for foreign patients. The country is hoping to follow nations like Thailand, India or Singapore, which currently have the largest share of patients in the regional medical tourism market.

South Korea, which saw some 50,000 foreigners visiting for treatment in 2009, aims to increase the number to 1 million patients by 2020.

“Korea is one of the leading countries in the world where the government has made
medical tourism a priority, enacted legislation and made other efforts to facilitate fast and stable growth of medical tourism in the country,” said Renée-Marie Stephano, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the MTA.

She also said that medical tourism in Asia will continue to grow because of low-cost, yet high quality medical procedures. “The level of health care there is excellent and advances at a fast rate equal to that around the world in the most advanced countries."

She told Dental Tribune Online that her organisation wishes to expand and hold other regional conferences around the world each year.


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