Foreign cosmetic surgery patients plunge due to pandemic

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The number of foreign patients visiting Korea for cosmetic surgery fell 99% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to government data.

According to data from Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) submitted to Rep. Nam In-soon of the Democratic Party, the number of overseas patient care for cosmetic surgery almost halved, from 64,644 in the first half of 2019 to 31,128 in the first half. from 2020.

In the first half of 2021, the number fell further to 849, a drop of 99% from 2019. This shows that the pandemic has made it difficult to attract international patients for plastic surgery.

As a result, the cosmetic surgery tax refund for overseas patients also declined, from 10.16 billion won ($ 8.5 million) in the first half of 2019 to 4.74 billion won in the first half. last year, and 253 million won in the first half of this year. year.

In the first half of the last three years, the most reimbursed medical service was wrinkle removal with 15,606 cases, followed by skin regeneration / skin whitening / anti-aging treatment / pore reduction with 12,732 cases, eyelid surgery with 6,992 cases and rhinoplasty. with 3,977 cases, liposuction with 3,489 cases and breast surgery with 2,673 cases.

“Comparison of the first half of the past three years has shown that the pandemic has dealt a serious blow to foreign patients attracting business,” Nam said.

The number of foreign patients has had to plunge as the number of visiting foreigners has declined, following the government’s strengthened rule for entry into Korea and travel restrictions from each country to prevent the spread of Covid-19, a she declared.

In the post-Covid-19 era, the nation must stop relying on cosmetic surgery and improve the quality of care for critically ill patients when it attracts international patients, Nam noted.

She added that the government must include a sustainable and value-creating strategy in the next comprehensive five-year national project to support the overseas expansion of the medical community and the attraction of international patients.


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