South Korea aims to attract Russian Medical Tourists

South Korea is continuing its quest to increase its piece of the medical tourism pie. To attain this, South Korea is now targeting Russian medical tourists and hopes to attract as much as 350,000 tourists from Russia in 2024. In recent years, Russians have flocked Asian tourist destinations such as Thailand. South Korea has also seen an increase in the number of Russians visiting Korea, which in 2025 reached 175,000. In order to double this number in three years time, medical tourism in South Korea is seen as one of the major potentials.

South Korea to make Incheon Asia’s Leading Medical Tourism City

While competition for the Russian medical tourists is fierce, South Korea hopes that by putting more effort into the Incheon region’s medical tourism infrastructure, this will work as an incentive for more Russians to opt for South Korea over its Asian medical tourism counterparts. The Incehon region launched The Incheon Medical Tourism Foundation (IMTF) in 2011, and according to the foundation, the number of medical tourists in the Incheon region rose from 2,898 in 2010 to 4,400 in 2011 and to over 10,000 medical tourists in 2013. In 2014, IMTF hopes that the medical tourism numbers will be 14,000. The IMTF is particularly targeting patients from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, which has been aided by the January 2014 deal for South Korean and Russian tourists to travel in either direction for up to 60 days without a visa, leaving enough time for most medical treatments and recuperation time in South Korea before traveling back to Russia.

Medical tourism services at South Korean Airports

To alleviate the process for Russian medical tourists entering South Korea, a one-hour medical service will be set up at Incheon Airport specifically targeting transfer passengers, so that they can receive medical check-ups at the airport, and also enjoy skin care treatments or teeth cleaning while waiting to board their next plane. Incheon Airport will also boast a medical information centre to assist medical tourists with information and the possibility to meet potential doctors.

Incheon Healthcare City meet passengers at the Airport

By naming Incheon Airport as the “Medical Hub Airport”, the aim is to create the image of Incheon as a healthcare city already when greeting new patients. While targeting medical tourists from Central Asia, China, Vietnam, Canada and US military personnel based in the region, Russian medical tourists are still seen as the main growth potential. In the last four years, Russian medical tourists has shown an annual growth rate of 88,1% in South Korea, a number that will undoubtedly continue to rise due to the latest efforts from the country and the Incheon region.

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