July 19, 2023 13:21
Foreigners are returning in droves to have plastic surgery in Korea now the country is open for business again and many want to look like Korean stars who are popular around the world.
According to Hana Card on Tuesday, foreigners spent W250 billion on medical treatment on their credit cards here the first six months of this year, up more than three times compared to a year ago (US$1=W1,260). They spent more than W60 billion in June alone, the highest monthly amount in the last five years.
Some 30 percent was spent in plastic surgery clinics and 22 percent in dermatology clinics.
General hospitals used to rank first in terms of foreigners' medical spending here but fell to third place. "Due to the influence of K-pop, foreigners' interest in the domestic beauty industry appears to have increased," a Hana Card staffer said.
Americans and Japanese led the trend. Americans spent W20.7 billion in plastic surgery clinics in Korea, Japanese W18.6 billion and Thais W7.6 billion.
Americans also spent W15.7 billion on Botox and other dermatology treatments, Japanese W15.6 billion and Chinese W4.4 billion.
Medical tourists also spent a lot of money shopping, or about four times more than among other tourists. They spent their money chiefly in department stores, hotels and duty free shops in southern Seoul, where plastic surgery clinics are concentrated, while other tourists mostly use their cards in central Seoul.
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