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Chinese Medical Tourists Increase Despite THAAD Controversy

Even in the midst of all the controversy surrounding the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Chungbuk region for medical tours increased.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare's April 22 report on the "2017 Foreign Patients Status," the number of foreign patients visiting Korea was 3674, down 9.2% from 4048 in 2016.

Last year was the first time the province saw a decrease in the number of visitors since the foreign patient promotion program first began in 2009, attracting 303 visitors in 2010.

This is lower than the national average growth of visitors (-11.7%), and only makes up 1.1% of all foreign patients that visited Korea last year (321,574).

Last year, 1674 Chinese patients visited Korea, making up 45.6% of all the visitors.

In 2016, the number of Chinese visitors was 1563, or 38.6% of all visitors, so more and more visitors to Korea are coming from China.

Also, because the majority of Cheongju International Airport flights to China were cut off due to the THAAD incident, Chinese patients were expected to decline vastly compared to last year. However, that did not happen.

The number of foreign visitors by the numbers are Mongolia (400), Uzbekistan (135), and Russia (123). In Mongolia, the number of medical tourists in Chungbuk-do increased from 264 in 2016 to 400 in 2017, showing the successful results of the province's efforts to diversify the countries of its medical tourists.

Source Text

Source: Newsis (Apr. 22, 2018)

** This article was translated from Korean.