Medicity stands tall as the mecca of Korean healthcare as the recipient of the Korea Master Brand Award in the medical city category for six consecutive years
This is the result of Daegu’s efforts to boost competitiveness and innovate the hospital and healthcare system.
This kind of private-public cooperation system also became the basis for the surprising way Daegu handled the Covid-19 epidemic, the biggest healthcare crisis that occurred in the city’s history with over 6,800 patients. The local medical community and citizens, led by the Medicity Daegu Association, came together and responded innovatively through the installation of drive-through testing facilities and community treatment centers. Daegu’s such quick initial response and epidemic prevention system garnered international attention, owing to the 11 years of Medicity Daegu’s experiences and capacity.
One of the areas that contributed to Daegu’s position as a medical city was medical tourism. Despite the volatile national circumstances, such as the MERS outbreak and the installation of the THAAD missile defense system, Daegu became the first city outside of the Seoul Capital Area that succeeded in attracting 20,000 medical tourists in 2016. In addition, the medical tourism cluster project overseen by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism topped the list of medical tourism projects in Korea for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019. In this way Daegu has been leading the initiative in medical tourism, becoming the first city to acquire the Ministry of SMEs and Startups’ certification for the city’s Medical Tourism Startup Support Center and implementing projects that are easily the world’s first of its kind and benchmarked by other local governments.
In February 2017, Daegu succeeded in Korea’s first arm transplant, which provided an opportunity for the city to display the excellence of its medical technologies and the strength of Medicity Daegu. Currently the city is diversifying its customer base from Chinese tourists to include tourists from Russia, Kazakhstan, and other CIS states, as well as the emerging countries of Southeast Asia and Mongolia, by utilizing the city’s 57 leading medical organizations and 25 overseas promotion centers.
In 2019, Daegu introduced the Medical Tourism Card (MTC) to provide an incentive for revisits and established a medical tourism cluster that combines Daegu’s healthcare programs and Gyeongsangbuk-do’s tourism services as active measures to overcome the various difficulties in the increasingly competitive medical tourism sector. The cityt also hosted the 2nd Asia Pacific Anti-aging Course, which attracted the participation of 291 doctors from 22 countries outside of Korea, creating a network of medical professionals in Korea and abroad and increasing the global awareness of Medicity Daegu’s outstanding medical skills and services.
Currently, companies are moving into the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Medical Cluster and the Medical R&D District, located in Daegu Innopolis, boosting the local economy. In the past several years, Daegu Innopolis has been able to attract 13 national institutes and 144 medical companies. In particular, the core support center, which is equipped with the world’s best medical devices and outstanding research staff, has been acquiring leading technologies through research and development and also working on the commercialization of such technologies.
As of the end of 2019, a total of 125 companies had finished relocating to the cluster and district, and the number of workers more than doubled from 1,041 in 2015 to 2,185 in 2019. A survey of 64 companies headquartered in the cluster showed that their annual sales increased by over 16 percent. These companies are expected to spearhead the development of the local economy by taking advantage of new opportunities in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. .
Lee Seung-ho, Vice Mayor for Economy of Daegu, remarked, “All of the Republic of Korea is in difficulty due to the Covid-19 crisis, but Daegu is wisely addressing the crisis thanks to the city’s strength as a medicity.” He added, “The six consecutive awards were made possible by the efforts of local medical organizations, industries, schools, and research institutes. Going forward, we will encourage and strengthen the cooperation between different organizations so that Medicity Daegu can become a renowned medical city across the world.”.