Busan medical tourism industry sees growth
The number of foreign medical tourists visiting Busan is greatly increasing. A total of 15,282 medical tourists visited the city last year, a 12.7% increase from the year before. This completely outpaces the average of 3.2% growth in other cities. According to data from Busan Metropolitan City Hall's 2018 Foreign Patient Status, the number of patients, while recognizing duplicate visits, was 37,809, up 10% from the previous year.
Some of the numbers are staggering. For instance, visits from Indonesian medical tourists increased by 210.1% last year, with 338 visits from the island nation. The number of Chinese medical tourists, which had decreased since the political issue of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense deployment in Korea, increased by 13.5% from the previous year. In the same period, however, the number of non-medical Chinese tourists shrank from 395,989 to 315,494, a decrease of 20.3%.
The number of foreign medical tourists to visit Busan last year is as follows: Russia, with 4,927 visitors, then China with 2,237. Coming third, Japan saw 1,843 medical tourists visit Busan, with the United States and Vietnam following at 1,322 and 556 visitors, respectively.
There appear to be multiple reasons for this increase in visits. One is the quality of Korea's beauty products and procedures. In the case of Russian tourists, it is also for treatment of spinal disease and cancer.