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Daegu Increases Efforts to Bring Russian Medical Tourists to Daegu
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The Daegu Metropolitan City Government (Daegu) together with Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center and BL Plastic Surgery held a briefing session in Yakutsk, Russia on medical tourism in Daegu for local medical officials and residents. At the briefing session, participants discussed ways to attract medical tourists to Daegu and ways in which the Daegu government could further cooperate with Moscow government officials for health and medical treatments to expand the base of medical tourism in Daegu.

○ The Daegu government, along with Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center and BL Plastic Surgery, provided medical consultations for approximately 100 cancer patients and potential plastic surgery patients in Yakutsk of the Sakha Republic from November 28 to December 2. Following the consultation sessions, the organizations then led a public relations session on medical tourism in Daegu for local medical officials and residents.

○ During the visit, Daegu showcased its superior medical technology and, as a result, received reservations for Daegu medical services from over 50 Russian patients. It is expected that the number of patients to Daegu from the Korea-Sakha Daegu Dongsan Life Center, which operates the Daegu Medical Tourism Promotion and Medical Consultation Center in Yakutsk where the promotional session was held, will see steady growth in the future.

○ “Since the number of patients planning to visit Daegu for medical treatment is growing due to the city’s excellent medical systems and reasonable medical fees, we are planning to open another Daegu Medical Tourism Promotion Center in Novosibirsk. We will also be promoting the opening of optician clinics/shops in the Sakha Republic that sell eyeglasses made in Daegu that are low in price but high in quality,” said Grigori Sohn (a 3rd generation Russian-Korean), head of the Korea-Sakha Daegu Dongsan Life Center.

○ The number of Russian medical tourists to Daegu has skyrocketed 354% in the past year, from 291 in 2015 to 1,322 by late October in 2016. This growth is attributed largely to Daegu’s continued contact with local agencies and key organizations in Russia and the network established by the Daegu Medical Tourism Promotion Center located in Russia.

○ The Daegu Medical Tourism Promotion Center in Russia is run by the Korea-Sakha Daegu Dongsan Life Center, which was established in 2015. The opening of another promotion center in Novosibirsk, a topic on the agenda during Daegu’s latest visit, is also expected to play a key role in publicizing the capacity of the medi-city of Daegu among Russian citizens.

○ During their most recent visit to Yakutsk, Daegu officials proposed a paid training program for doctors in Russia at the government level. The proposal, submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Sakha Republic and the Health Minister, was well received and is currently under review.

○ If the proposal is accepted, 17 local doctors from Russia’s National Eye Hospital as well as doctors from Vietnam and China will participate in a paid training program in Daegu for a fee of only KRW 10 million per person. The training program would not only create economic value added, but would also contribute to the building of a sustainable medical cooperation network.

○ At a meeting with the Vice Mayor (formerly the president of Russia’s electric power company) of the city of Podolsk in the Moscow region, representatives from Daegu proposed the idea of “incentive medical tourism” for employees of Podolsk and the electric power company. The Podolsk Vice Mayor and medical officials promised to visit Daegu in January next year to review and discuss the idea in detail.

○ Daegu representatives also met with officials of the Moscow branch of the Korea Tourism Organization and discussed ways to promote information exchanges and familiarization tours (fam tours). The meeting was part of a larger agenda to reach an agreement with Russia&