Assessment of Medical Tourism Development in Korea for the Achievement of Competitive Advantages

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry in which people travel to other countries to receive medical treatments. In 2010, Korea attracted 81,789 foreign medical tourists who spent approximately US$100 million. The aims of this study are to analyze general trends in the medical tourism market, identify problems, or obstacles that affect the development of medical tourism in Korea, provide solutions to overcome these obstacles, and propose better policies. This study employed qualitative research methods, including content analysis of written publications and in-depth interviews. According to the results of the analysis of Korean medical tourism, the weaknesses of the system include insufficient promotion, the lack of a centralized administrative support system, the absence of differentiation strategies with respect to competing nations, an insufficient number of medical tourism professionals, and an inadequate legal system. In addition, this study identified threats that include competition from other countries offering medical tourism, the emergence of new competitors in East Asia, unexpected global crises, and international antagonism against Korea. This article discusses solutions addressing these weaknesses and threats and presents strategies that Korea can adopt to become one of the premier destinations for medical tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-445
Number of pages25
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2013


  • competition
  • health
  • Korea
  • medical tourism
  • SWOT analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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