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Korea's Thriving Beauty Industry Set to Attract More Tourists

2008/10/14 Source

The Korean wave has drawn global attention to a growing number of Korean actresses whose beautiful looks have captured the hearts of fans abroad.
Not only has this led to box office sales but also to a newfound interest among foreigners in Korea's booming industry for plastic surgery and skin care.
According to a survey of 50 Chinese travel industry experts by the Seoul Tourism and Marketing Corporation 65 percent recommended that Korea focus on plastic surgery or skin care treatments to lure more foreign visitors.
Tapping into this rising interest the Seoul city government plans to market tour packages that offer these medical treatments.
The packages called "Seoul Beauty Tours" are aimed at boosting tourism revenues by offering Korea's top-notch aesthetic medical services.

[Interview : Jung Inseon, "Seoul Beauty Tour" member Imi Plastic Surgery] "Korea's cosmetic surgery and dermatology industry has a great reputation in China and in Southeast Asia, thanks to the Korean wave. Based on this reputation, we are planning to expand the program to cover a wider range of medical services".

Critics say this type of marketing simply capitalizes on vanity but proponents say they cater to a definite need felt by a growing number of people.

[Reporter : JANG SOUIE] "With its advanced aesthetic medical skills… Korea is set to attract even more foreigners who dream that someday they will become as beautiful as one of those movie stars they see on TV".

Meanwhile some doctors are taking matters into their own hands.
The head of this hospital in Seoul makes regular visits to Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong to consult with foreigners who plan to get face-lifts.
Other red-carpet services are also available.

[Interview : Kim Byunggun, Director BK Dongyang Plastic Surgery Clinic] "We have a pick-up service from the airport to our clinic. And we have special contracts with hotels near my clinic offering very cheap rates".

This hospital has seen a more than ten-fold increase in the number of foreign patients over the past five years.
Now around 500 foreign patients come here every year for face-lifts.
Many of the patients say they plan to come back for more.

[Interview : Thuy Hoang, Canadian patient] "In the future if I did want something, I would comeback for sure".

By transforming the dreams of beauty-conscious foreigners into reality Korea hopes that it will become a regional hub of medical tourism in the near future.

Jang Souie, Arirang News.

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