The worldwide medical tourism market is rising with the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted international journey for the previous three years, slowly turning into an endemic.
Nations worldwide and the medical group are making all-out efforts to achieve an edge in a market that’s anticipated to develop double in dimension within the subsequent three years.
In response to Consultancy-me, a worldwide consulting agency, the dimensions of the worldwide medical tourism market, which was $105 billion in 2019, shrank to $71 billion in 2020 attributable to Covid-19.
Nonetheless, the market has since recovered progressively and reached $97 billion in 2022, and is anticipated to develop to $182 billion in 2025, as international locations are actively attempting to draw international sufferers with supporting insurance policies.
Notably, Thailand plans to introduce a brand new medical visa that permits for a most keep of 1 yr from 2023.
With the worldwide medical tourism trade exhibiting indicators of getting into a progress interval, Korean medical specialists careworn that Korea’s medical tourism trade should ease rules if it intends to safe a agency place within the medical tourism market.
In response to the 2020-2021 Medical Tourism Index (MTI) introduced by the Worldwide Healthcare Analysis Heart (IHRC) in July 2020, Korea ranked 14th out of 46 international locations in medical tourism rankings.
MTI ranks Individuals’ perceptions of 46 medical tourism locations and surveyed with 41 standards in three points — medical tourism trade, vacation spot attractiveness, and medical service high quality.
For Korea to turn out to be one of many high 10 locations for medical tourism, trade watchers careworn that you will need to enable telemedicine for foreigners and ease necessities for medical tourism visas, whereas sustaining its world-class medical expertise and low-cost competitiveness in comparison with developed international locations.
Particularly, trade officers stress that easing visa necessities for medical tourism is most vital. Foreigners in search of remedy in Korea often enter Korea with a C-3-3 visa (short-term medical vacationer) or a G-1-10 visa (remedy and recuperation).
The federal government provides C-3-3 to international sufferers who want to enter the nation for medical remedy or recuperation at a Korean hospital. C-3-3 visa recipients should obtain an invite from the hospital they plan on receiving remedy, and the size of keep must be lower than 90 days.
G-1-10 are given to international sufferers, their accompanying members of the family, and caregivers who want to enter the nation for the aim of remedy or recuperation at a home medical establishment with out being invited by the host establishment. People who obtain the G-1-10 visa can keep in Korea for as much as a yr.
In response to trade sources, nevertheless, it has turn out to be practically unattainable to obtain a C-3-3 visa or a G-1-10 visa just lately.
“Korea tends to have plenty of sufferers from international locations the place medical infrastructure isn’t properly established,” an trade watcher advised Korea Biomedical Evaluation, asking to stay nameless because of the sensitivity of the problem. “Even earlier than Covid-19, it was not simple to acquire a medical vacationer visa, however after Covid-19, it has turn out to be nearly unattainable.”
The trade watcher careworn that is primarily attributable to some foreigners exploiting the system.
“Some foreigners have exploited the system to enter Korea and disappear to work as unlawful immigrants presumably,” the trade watcher mentioned. “Most just lately, 23 out of 126 Mongolians who visited Jeju Island in June for medical tourism disappeared after arriving in Korea.”
Nonetheless, he mentioned refusing to problem visas to stop such exploitation was not the reply.
“Unlawful immigrants who misuse medical tourism visas have to be prevented by means aside from proscribing the issuance of medical tourism visas,” the watcher mentioned. “If issuing medical tourism visas continues to be restricted, it should inevitably harm Korea’s medical tourism trade.”
The Korea Well being Trade Growth Institute (KHIDI) careworn that it’s conscious of the state of affairs and can help revitalizing Korea’s medical tourism trade.
“From 2023, the medical tourism trade in lots of international locations will get well to pre-pandemic ranges due to elevated vaccination and simplified entry insurance policies,” mentioned Lee Haeng-shin, the Director of the Division of World Healthcare of KHIDI. “Now’s the time to have in depth discussions on non-face-to-face remedy for international sufferers and medical tourism visa points.”
KHIDI mentioned that it could additionally present different plans to draw international sufferers.
Such plans embody working a “Medical Korea” web site, which is able to present a one-stop service, resembling medical tourism visa issuance necessities, notable medical establishments, and Korea’s well being system data, for international sufferers wanting to go to Korea for medical tourism.
The web site will help 4 languages — English, Chinese language, Japanese, and Russian.