Foreign medical tourists to reach 1 million by 2020

November 12, 2013

By Nam Hyun-woo

The number of medical tourists visiting the nation is expected to reach almost 1 million in 2020.

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) released a report Tuesday, titled “2013 Korea Medical Tourism Bibliography,” which estimates that the number of medical tourists for this year at 399,000.

The KTO expects this figure to reach 598,000 in 2015 and 998,000 in 2020.

With such a surge in numbers, the revenue from medical tourism is expected to jump to 3.5 trillion won in 2020 from 1.01 trillion won this year.

The KTO expects the amount of average per capita spending in Korea by medical tourists to grow from 2.53 million won this year to 3.56 million won in 2020.

Further growth of medical tourism will create more jobs.

“Amid the rapid growth of the medical tourism market, more people are interested and relevant queries are increasing. The KTO expects the report to contribute to disseminating more information about medical tourism and help hospitals and related companies develop a competitive edge,” said Kim Se-man, an official at the organization.

“We expect the increase to help create 60,000 more health related jobs by 2020.”

Since the country launched a promotional campaign to nurture medical tourism in 2009, the number of people visiting Korea for treatment has increased by 38.4 percent annually.

The number of hospitals and other medical institutions involved in the industry also grew to 3,800 this year. Last year, 159,000 people from 188 countries visited Korea for medical treatment.