|The Power Of Korea Medical Tourism Market|
|The Growth Of Medical Tourism Market|
Abstract Medical tourism has emerged as a an increasingly relevant issue worldwide and its spread is gaining greater momentum. In 2010, 1,200,000 Americans went overseas for medical procedures and the number is expected to reach 14,000,000 by the year 2014. The Health Industry Development Institute of Korea announced that the number of medical tourists to Asia has seen an annual increase of 1.2%, to 14,000,000 from 1,200,000 between 20010 and 2014.
Among Asian countries, Thailand, India and Malaysia have already established themselves as particularly attractive destinations for medical services thanks to low medical fees and/or tourism related prices. The number of foreign patients visiting these countries for medical services has increased rapidly as they had been from the very early days of medical tourism.
Following the revision of its laws and regulations in medical practice, Korea will join the competition against existing leaders of medical tourism to gain a larger share of global medical shoppers. Some strength that Korea offers as a medical service destination are its plentiful supply of high quality physicians and medical facilities, relatively low medical fees compared to quality of service, excellent medical accessibility, and the geographical closeness to medically less developed countries. A vibrant medical tourism industry will not only create new jobs and generate a new source of income for medical professionals but also enhance the national image of Korea abroad.
Another benefit of developing Korea as a destination for medical services is the maintenance of a better balance between medical supply and demand. The recent and rapid increase in the number of hospital beds and medical professionals in Korea has triggered a concern for a possible oversupply in medical services.
Medical tourism is precisely the type of business that could help prevent the development of these situations. The patient's trust in medical professionals and their medical skills is a critical factor in medical decision-making.
Therefore, to further develop Korea's medical tourism, policy support by the government along with meticulous preparation by health service providers would be required to build up a firm foundation. At the same time, active marketing promotions to heighten the awareness of Korea as a medical destination would be necessary to maximize the economic benefit of the nation from medical tourism.