Incheon city and Incheon Tourism Corp. announced Thursday that they have opened a medical tourism consultation center in Irkutsk, Russia.
Russia has the second largest number of foreign patients who visit Incheon, followed by China. The number of Russian patients who visited Incheon increased 66 percent last year, despite the 2.6 percent decrease in the total Russian patients visiting Korea.
The medical tourism consultation center will act as a marketing base for consulting and attracting medical tourists, strengthening local networks in Russia, and finding students interested in Incheon's beauty academies.
This year, Incheon has selected China, Russia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia as the three major strategic markets, and is pursuing target marketing for each region by following their market characteristics.
Incheon plans to launch another medical tourism consultation center in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the second half of this year to attract patients from Central Asia.
“Due to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment foreign patients visiting Korea dropped drastically last year,” a city official said. “During that time, however, Incheon was the only city in Korea that saw its foreign patient visits rise by the double-digit of 12.2 percent.”
As the city aims for double-digit growth again this year, it has set up a base for attracting foreign patients from the rapidly emerging Russian market, he added.