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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 08/12/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) South Korea is keen to promote its medical tourism, as the country is one of the fastest growing nations in this sector, according to Seung Hyun Hwang, managing director of the Korea Tourism Organisation, or KTO.

In an effort to promote Korea to one of the world's most competitive medical tourism destinations, KTO showcased its expertise in Abu Dhabi recently.

Korea, generally regarded as an industry-oriented country, welcomed 122,297 medical tourists from across the globe last year.

The level of medical expertise in Korea is known to be comparable or surpasses to that of the US, particularly in the areas of spinal treatment whether with surgical care or with traditional Korean medicine, prostate diseases, diabetes/obesity treatment, hip replacement and plastic surgery; these are counted among the best in the world.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai health care authorities had signed a memorandum of understanding with their Korean counterpart last year, the result of which are hundreds of UAE patients having been sent to Korea in recent months.

Hwang said: "The hospitals in Korea enjoy world-class standards with medical personnel using the latest in medical technology to cutting-edge medical equipment in patient treatment."

Since the opening of its branch office in Dubai in 2004, the KTO has endeavoured to promote Korea to Middle East medical travellers as a must-visit destination, and this medical tourism event was part of the organisation's continued marketing efforts to bring more Arab medical travelers to the country.

In November, Korea recorded 10 million arrivals for the first time, an increase of 14.9 per cent compared to the previous year. Middle East arrivals were recorded at 91,838 tourists until the end of September , a 19.3 per cent increase over same period last year.

GCC arrivals were recorded at 11,054 tourists for the same period, an increase of 20.1 per cent over previous year.

Tourists from the UAE recorded the highest number of arrivals among GCC residents with a growth rate of 32.1 per cent compared to the previous year.


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