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Medical Tourism Association Partners with Korea Tourism Organization to Extend South Korean Global Medical Services after Successful COVID-19 Containment


Medical Tourism Association (MTA) partners with Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) as South Korea extends high complexity medical services to international patients at a pivotal COVID-19 transition point.

South Korea is recognized for its handling of COVID-19 and its success in quickly flattening the curve. After reaching a peak in February, Korea successfully contained the virus and flattened the curve in just 6 weeks. Most notable is the country's success in doing so in the absence of a full shutdown. South Korea managed to avoid closing the border or imposing complete economic lockdowns as many other countries have, and it is now one of the safest countries and few that are open for business in a medical tourism industry essentially shut down for international patients looking for health and wellness services.

Yet this should be of no surprise, since South Korea is a nation that also leads the medical world in advanced care and has, on many medical fronts, pioneered state of the art advanced cancer treatments and healthcare diagnostics and technology. The country leads the globe in survival rates for cancer such a colorectal cancer and cervical cancer. Citizens from all over the globe including America, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and China, travel to South Korea for complex diagnostic, clinical and surgical treatment, and elective health and wellness services.

Medical Tourism Association will be working alongside the New York office of Korea Tourism Organization to generate key international partnerships in healthcare and to promote South Korea's world class medical treatments, highlighting its safety as an international medical destination, particularly during this global health pandemic. Korea Tourism Organization is a government agency with a vision to lead the way to sustainable tourism and balanced development; medical tourism is one of the focuses of travel that KTO oversees.

"During a time like this, people all across the world are reluctant to travel of any sort," says KTO Executive Director Steve Yong. "Times are scary. People are unsure if travel is safe. And yet, South Korea is known as a world-leader in healthcare. When people need the best of care, they know that South Korea will provide them with that, and will protect them in their travels, no matter the state of a health crisis."

Jonathan Edelheit, Chairman and Co-founder of Medical Tourism Association echoes that sentiment. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for life-improving and critical care remains the same, if not more heightened by chronic conditions and financial complications; heart procedures, transplants, and cancer doesn't go away. This is the untold story over the last six months. Many patients don't have alternatives and need to access healthcare elsewhere. South Korea offers this along with the essential element of safety and trust patients need in selecting a destination for medical care," says Edelheit, who has also been surprised by the continual receipt of patient inquiries through from those looking at international travel even at the outset of the pandemic.

Medical Tourism Association has worked with South Korea in the past on other medical tourism initiatives; Korea Tourism Organization and Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) are regularly represented at MTA's annual conference, the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, most recently held in Abu Dhabi.

The first step forward in this partnership is to educate medical tourism professionals on the little-known secrets that South Korea continues to leverage to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, assure safety, build trust for prospective patients, and how the impact will affect the industry globally. The panel will feature major hospitals from South Korea that will share successes and failures, and what is to be expected moving forward. Healthcare and Medical Tourism Buyers from America and the Middle East will also share how referrals have been impacted. As the world contemplates an uncertain, these panelists and more will come together to clarify what is real and what is certain for the medical tourism industry. This webinar can be registered for and attended July 7th at 9:00am EST by registering here.

In a few months, Medical Tourism Association will host another webinar alongside Korea Tourism Organization that is planned to focus on self-funding and medical tourism in the United States.

Korea Tourism Organization:

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is an organization of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST). It is commissioned to promote the country's tourism industry. The KTO was established in 1962 as a government-invested corporation responsible for the South Korean tourism industry according to the International Tourism Corporation Act.  The organization promotes Korea as a tourist destination to attract foreign tourists. Starting in the 1980s, domestic tourism promotion also became a function of the KTO. Inbound visitors totaled over 17 millions in 2019 (17,502,756 visitors) and the tourism industry is said to be one of the factors that has some influence on the Korean economy.

Medical Tourism Association:

The Medical Tourism Association is a global non-profit association for the Medical Tourism and International Patient Industry. The MTA works with healthcare providers, governments, insurance companies, employers and other buyers of healthcare - in their medical tourism, international patient, and healthcare initiatives - with a focus on providing the highest quality transparent healthcare.

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