2019 Seongnam International Medical Tour Convention will run Sep. 20-22 in Seongnam City Hall. Seongnam is the first city to open international medical tour convention, and this is the second year running.

To find out more about the event, Joseph Choe, the editor-in-chief of AVING NEWS had an interview with Eun Su-mi, the Mayor of Seongnam.

(Photo: 2018 Seongnam International Medical Tour Convention)

Q. What is the basis of being the only local government to attract 10,000 medical tourists in Korea and taking the fifth place nationwide?

Attracting 10,000 medical tourists not accomplished overnight. Our city enacted the Medical Tourism Promotion Ordinance in 2013 and actively started the business. The number of tourists declined in 2016 due to Chinese retaliation against THAAD and deterioration of the international situation, but we have continued making the efforts in opening new markets, opening overseas PR centers in Taiwan, Vietnam and Mongolia, expanding foreign patient support policies (translation services, safety insurance for foreign patients, etc.), and becoming the first local government to hold the convention. We plan to continue to provide support for activating the tourism industry in Seongnam.

Q. Please tell us about your plan to activate the medical tour industry in Seongnam.

Recently, Seongnam had a promotion briefing and opened a PR center in Hanoi, Vietnam, receiving attention as an emerging market for medical tourism. We have concluded a contract to train medical personnel and overseas patient transfer with Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. We will continue reinforcing PR and marketing to activate the medical tourism industry for the future.

With the medical tourism industry, we will strengthen cooperation with related industries such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Seongnam has many high-tech companies in medical device manufacturing and AI in High-tech Valley and Pangyo Techno Valley as well as the nation’s top hospital and clinic infrastructure. By cooperating with hospitals, corporations and Seongnam City Hall, we plan to create our own medical complex that can represent Korea.

(Photo: 2018 Seongnam International Medical Tour Convention)

Q. We heard that you are holding the international medical tour convention this year as well. Please give us a brief description of what it is.

We are the only local government to hold a medical tour event of this size. Seongnam International Medical Tour Convention is held for three days, from Sep. 20 to 22. In addition to professional programs such as international conferences, business meetings, and academic conferences involving medical personnel and industry officials, we will be providing various contents and attractions related to medical, tourism, and beauty for citizens to easily understand and access Seongnam city and the medical tourism industry. We expect to have more than 20,000 people including medical personnel, industry officials, students, buyers, and general citizens visiting the venue coming in from 13 countries.

Q. What parts of Seongnam are you planning to promote by holding this convention?

In Seongnam, 1,600 hospitals including university hospitals, general hospitals, and special clinics and 14,500 medical personnel are available, providing a medical infrastructure that are top-level in the country. It is the center of history and Hallyu culture spread throughout the area with Namhansanseong Fortress, a World Heritage Site, Bongguksa Temple with a history of more than 1,000 years, Jeongja-dong Cafe Street used as various film and drama locations, and Bundang Central Park. Pangyo Techno Valley, also known as Korea’s Silicon Valley, is home to the high-tech innovative cluster with more than 1,200 IT, BT, CT, NT and convergence technologies. Through this convention, we plan to publicize Seongnam’s resources such as history, culture and high-tech industries as well as Seongnam’s excellent medical industry.

Q. As last word, is there anything you want to say to the companies participating in this convention and the general public?

We would like to ask for active cooperation from the industry officials to make this convention the venue to promote the medical tourism industry in Seongnam globally. I hope many people can come to the event and enjoy fun things we have prepared for you.