SEOUL, Jul. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will open a new center in Shanghai later this year to promote medical tourism, in line with efforts to attract more Chinese medical tourists, the health ministry said Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the center will open in September and will serve as the place for small and medium-sized medical institutions to promote their services and share information.
The move comes as the number of Chinese medical tourists to South Korea has declined, mainly due to the diplomatic row with China over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.
According to data compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of foreigners arriving South Korea for medical purposes declined 12 percent on-year to 321,574 in 2017. The number of Chinese tourists — which account for over 30 percent of the total number — arriving for medical purposes shrank 22 percent on-year to 99,837 last year.
The bilateral rift over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea has lowered the number of Chinese group tours to the country since 2017. In recent months, China has partially lifted the ban with Wuhan becoming one of the first Chinese cities to allow sales of tour packages to South Korea.