SEOUL, May 8 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will promote its southeastern region as a cluster for wellness travel as it moves to attract more tourists amid the popularity of the country’s medical services, the government said Tuesday.
South Gyeongsang Province, which encompasses the port cities of Tongyeong and Geoje, has been tapped as the country’s base for wellness tourism, according to Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Wellness tourism is a relatively new concept that broadens the scope of medical and health tourism by seeking to improve or maintain health and quality of life through travel for the purposes of visiting spas, receiving beauty treatment, improving fitness, meditating and other health-related activities.
The government will inject 800 million won (US$742,000) into developing tour programs and fostering experts in the region this year.
The world’s wellness tourism market is estimated to have reached 601 trillion won as of 2015, accounting for 16 percent of the total tourism industry. It is expected to reach 864 trillion won by 2020, the ministry said, citing a report from the Global Wellness Institute.
Buoyed by a rising influx of tourists for medical and beauty treatment, South Korea has been seeking ways to develop themed tours for health-conscious travelers and has vowed to expand support to develop unique programs in cooperation with local communities.