South Korea will host a tourism exhibition in the United Arab Emirates this week to try to attract more Middle Eastern visitors, the state-run tourism agency said Tuesday.
The three-day 2018 Korea Culture & Tourism Festival will kick off in the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi on Thursday, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
(Korea Tourism Organization/Yonhap)
The tourism promotion agency said 19 medical institutions, including Asan Medical Center and Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine, will take part in the event to attract more Middle Eastern patients in need of advanced medical treatment.
This year, the festival will also include tourism and cosmetics companies to lure more visitors who are interested in Korean pop culture, the KTO said.
Some 3,400 UAE nationals came to South Korea for medical treatment in 2017, spending an average 10.7 million won ($9,300) per person, more than five times the average 1.9 million won of medical expenses spent by foreigners visiting South Korea, the KTO said.
Seoul National University Hospital, one of South Korea's top medical centers, has been running the Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital in the UAE since 2015.
The number of outpatients and inpatients at the hospital with 246 beds jumped 311 percent and 199 percent in 2017, compared with 2015, respectively, and the number of operations also skyrocketed 378 percent during the cited period, according to Seoul National University Hospital.
The hospital offers services in specialties ranging from cancer, cranial nerves and cardiovascular disorders by 160 South Korean medical professionals, including some 50 doctors.
Seoul's St. Mary's hospital also entered the Gulf state in 2015, opening a health promotion center in Abu Dhabi. (Yonhap)