SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 14, 2018 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government will host a consultation meeting on the city’s medical tourism initiative for around 70 local travel agencies and medical institutions in Khabarovsk, Russia on May 17, 2018.
Russia now has positive signs of an economic recovery on the strength of reviving private consumption and investment. In particular, Khabarovsk serves as a key transportation hub and also the geographical center of the Far East, where the Russian government has put top priority for its “New East Asia Policy.”
Currently Russians ranked fourth in terms of medical tourism visits to South Korea, so the Seoul Metropolitan Government designates Khabarovsk as a major base city to attract more medical tourists.
Despite an overall decrease in the number of medical tourists to Korea in 2017 due to a political issue around the THAAD missile system and the decline of the Ruble, the number of Russian medical tourists visiting Seoul has increased slightly by 1.2 percent to 13,368 in 2017 from 13,204 in 2016.
Given the fact that Russian medical tourists tend to stay longer than tourists from other countries, Seoul expects to establish a basis for influx of medical tourism by promoting Seoul tourism and wellness programs to Russian medial tourists.
In 2016, the total amount of medical expenses spent by Russian patients was 87 billion won ($80 million), of which the medical expenses paid by hospitalized patients reached 43.4 billion won ($40 million). Their average medical cost per person stood at 3.41 million won ($3,150), which is 44 percent higher than 2.36 million won ($2,180), the average medical cost per international patient in the same year.
Along with the consultation meeting in Russia, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Foundation will meet with officials from the Khabarovsk and Maritime provincial governments to discuss ways of mutual cooperation to expand the base of the medical tourism market in the Far East. In addition, Seoul plans to introduce medical tour products to people in the Far East, and also provide information on major tourist and wellness attractions in Seoul.