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South Korea Targets a Surge in Medical Tourism to Reach 700,000 by 2027

Medical Tourism

With an ambitious vision, South Korea is looking to usher in 700,000 medical tourists by 2027. A twofold approach combining an overhaul in healthcare services with a dash of tourism is the linchpin of this strategy.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare declared a string of initiatives on Monday, signifying the government's commitment towards this goal. The tactics include revamping immigration processes, promoting equitable healthcare services distribution, fortifying industry robustness, and enhancing international awareness.

As part of its four-pronged strategy, the South Korean government intends to augment the count of healthcare facilities capable of e-visa applications on behalf of foreign patients from last year's 27 to at least 50. This step is instrumental in the broader ambition of welcoming 700,000 medical tourists.

Tailored medical and tourism packages aimed at VIP and long-term patients are also on the cards, with marketing strategies leveraging the magnetic charm of Korean cultural phenomena like K-pop and popular television dramas.

Additionally, the government aims to bolster and advertise cutting-edge medical programs such as transplants, cancer treatment, and the rich tradition of Korean herbal medicine. In 2022, South Korea played host to 248,000 medical tourists, a number that had halved due to the global pandemic.

Moving forward, South Korea is eager to reinstate its transit visa exemptions for transit passengers, a feature that was temporarily shelved during the pandemic. On the horizon, the government plans to establish six innovative tourism hubs integrating medical treatments and local tourism attractions. These convergence clusters, planned in prominent cities like Incheon and Daegu, will provide comprehensive services to foreign patients and their companions.

Furthermore, advanced technologies will be harnessed to expand remote medical services and post-treatment care for overseas medical tourists, supporting the government's push for legal, non-contact healthcare services.

The Medical Tourism Association, launched South Korean’s medical tourism initiative in 2008 and has worked with the Korean government every year since. “Korea is a model for every government and healthcare cluster in the world to follow. When the MTA started working with Korea they had “zero” patients, what they have accomplished has been phenomenal.  This April 2023 we finished another marketing and business development initiative in hosting a large medical tourism “buyer” event for South Korea,” said Jonathan Edelheit, President of Medical Tourism Association.

To explore partnership opportunities with the Medical Tourism Association, and to learn more how the MTA can help you, please visit our website at

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