Posted : 2013-04-09 18:12
Updated : 2013-04-09 18:12

Medical tourists increasing rapidly

By Shim Jae-yun

The number of foreign tourists visiting here for medical purposes surpassed 150,000 in 2012, up 27.3 percent from a year earlier.

Chinese medical tourists outnumbered their U.S. counterparts for the first time since 2009, when the nation began a drive to attract patients from overseas.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute revealed data that showed 155,672 foreigners came for medical treatment last year.

The result was based on data submitted by 2,285 registered medical institutes across the country.

"Originally there had been concern over a possible decrease in arrivals of foreign medical tourists due mainly to the lingering financial crisis plus political instability in Northeast Asia. But the global medical tourism market continued to remain robust and we managed to register remarkable growth," the institute said in a press release.

Domestic medical facilities earned 239.1 billion won (approximately $208 million) through treatment, an increase of 32.1 percent from 2010.

Tourism revenue from the foreign patients stood at $34.6 million, the highest since 2006.

Chinese patients increased to 31,472, up 63.7 percent year-on-year, ahead of 30,196 U.S. citizens. Japanese visitors came in third at 18,462 followed by Russians, Mongolians and Vietnamese.

Affected by the steady depreciation of the yen, Japanese patients decreased 17.9 percent. In contrast, those from the Middle East and Central Asia continued to grow.

Saudi Arabian tourists exceeded 1,000 for the first time while those from the United Arab Emirates, with which the government signed contract for exchanging patients last year, soared to 341 from only 54 in 2010.

Apparently boosted by the growing popularity of hallyu (the Korean wave), many foreigners visited noted plastic surgery hospitals such as JK, Wonjin, Oracle and BK.

About 80 percent of the total revenue of JK Plastic Surgery came from Chinese patients, according to a hospital official.

The United Arab Emirates topped the list of medical spending per person with each using 12.37 million won. Those who spent more than 100 million won rose to 83, more than triple the 27 in 2010.

The ministry and the institute are hosting "Medical Korea 2013" at COEX in southern Seoul from Tuesday for a two-day run to display plastic and heart surgery knowhow.

관련 한글 기사

작년 의료관광 외국인 150,000 넘어서

중국인 미국인 제치고 1위로

지난해 의료목적으로 우리나라를 찾은 외국인 관광객이 150,000을 넘어서 전년 동기비 27.3 퍼센트의 증가세릃 보인것으로 조사 됐다.

특히 중국 의료관광객의 경우 미국을 앞질렀는데, 이는 의료관광객 유치에본격 나선 2009 년 이후 처음 있는 일이다.

보건 복지부와 한국 보건산업 진흥원 자료에 따르면 지난해 155,672명의 외국인 의료 관광객이 방문한 것으로 나타났다.

이 같은 결과는 전국 2,285 개의 등록 의료기관에서 제출한 자료에 근거 하고 있다.

“애초에 전세계적 금융위기에 더해 동북아시아의 불안정으로 인해 의료관광객수가 줄 것으로 염려 했는데, 다행이 세계 의료관광업계는 탄탄했고 우리도 기록적인 성장을 할 수 있었다,” 라고 진흥원 은 밝혔다.

국내 의료기관은 지난해 대비 32.1 퍼센트 성장한 2,390억을 벌여 들였고 이들로부터 벌어들인 여행수지는 3,460 만 불로 2006년이래 최대를 기록 했다.

중국인이 31,472 명으로 전년대비 63.7 퍼센트 늘었고 미국인이 30,196, 으로 2위, 일본인이 18,462 으로 3위, 러시아, 몽골, 베트남 순으로 나타났다.

엔저의 영향으로 일본 관광객이 전년 대비 17.9 퍼센트 줄어든 반면 중동과 중앙아시아 환자가 늘었다.

사우디 아라비아 환자가 처음으로 1,000을 넘었고 작년 정부간 환자 송출협정을 맺은 아랍 에미레이트 환자가 2010년 54명에서 작년 341명으로 급격히 늘어 났다.

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