hallyu

Hallyu originated from the Korean name
for the emergence of the Korean Wave Hanryu (Hangul: ??). So, Hallyu,
referred to the Korean Wave that stemmed from the increasing aspiration to
explore more about the Korean culture. It started around the 1990s and spread
like wildfire throughout the globe. Since Koreans are well known for their warmness
and openness, the path to Hallyu is visited continuously by both the young and
old and totally fascinated by what they learn about the culture, food and
entertainment. Thus, Hallyu’s integration into their daily lives and the urge
to explore about this foreign culture stimulates Hallyu to transcend into more
sophisticated cultural forms, which in turn, makes Hallyu go to a higher level.

 

One of the milestones of this is the
Medical Tourism in Korea. Although Korea was relatively an apprentice in the market
for global medical tourism, it has developed as one of the destinations that is
in demand. The idea originated from the successful information from other countries
already providing this service like Thailand, Singapore, and also India,
inspiring the Korean government to adopt this system to foster economic
advancement. During the phase when the economic recession was inevitable,
medical tourism through the Hallyu provided the much-needed boost to create
more job opportunities and generate a more sustainable income. Based on its
popularity, the Korean government, in 2009, classified medical tourism as a new
growth engine and a few actions were applied. An example is distribution of
nominal budget, a promotional law and formulating new specialist committees.
Statistics showed that from 2007 to 2013, the number of foreign patients who came
for medical tourism grew from 16 000 to 210 000 patients and profit earned
boomed from USD 68 million to USD 390 million. (ki Nam Jin,`from googlebook see first one)

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In the year 2015, South Korea made
accessible its doors to almost 340,000 medical tourists – in spite of the fact
that general breakdown on the number that had cosmetic treatments done was not revealed.
Ernest and Young noted that the South Korean government had invested around
US$5.2 billion (1.4 %) of its budget in culture and media, with the aim of adding
it to US$7.8 billion (2 %) of the budget, in 2017 to support the medical
tourism obliquely. By 2020, the South Korean government has targeted to promote
further the wellbeing and health sector, with a vision to entice one million medical
tourists into the nation.( thisis from the nst article Singapore)

 

The question here is how did Hallyu help
in making medical tourism sellable? The immense prevalence of K-pop
culture in most territories of the globe has offered route to the South Korean government
to give some assistance to its creative industries subsidies and financial aid for start-ups.
The introduction covers K-pop music and TV dramas and movies, and expanded into
fashion, beauty and food. Its success has had an immense impact on South Korea,
not just in cultural terms but also in adding some dazzle to an economy more
familiar with shipbuilding and electronics. Hallyu was promoted through the media
worldwide through the web and by creating a national pop culture content. “Once
it had established a firm national culture, it consolidated other foreign
factors to create a culture content that’s uniquely Korea,” said Mr
Joongshik Wang, partner at Ernst & Young Corporate Finance. (also from nst article)

 

The Hallyu economy is the most recent event in
which items from Korea are chosen in overseas markets and gained expanded deals
volumes. ‘The Hallyu economy’ is recognised by a mixture of
aggressive promoting, a premium image, localization strategies, reasonable
prices, and prevalent quality and design. Until today, marketing of top-tier Hallyu stars has been of great support for companies
in Korea with a low level of global exposure to obtain access to the world
market. The direct economic results of Hallyu are based on the growth in export of
Korean culture, that is, of cultural content. Exports are a growth motive for
the pop culture industry. Indirect economic effects of Hallyu may lead to the improved
recognition of Korea, the increased sales of Korean consumer products, the
promotion of the business activities of Korean companies, including the popular
medical tourism. “Since the popularity of K-Pop and Korean drama started
to boom in the late 1990s, the South Korean government has been increasing its
financial support towards the Korean culture business. This included launching
a US$1 billion investment fund to support the pop industry in 2005,” says
Mr Wang. The recent tourism campaign in 2017, had included 52 Hallyu cultural
festivals and the Korea Grand Sale, similar to the Great Singapore Sale, among
numerous things. It is expected that the series of events can boost tourist
arrivals to 20 million a year and a significant portion going to medical tourism. (nst rticle)

 

Mr Song, who has been following K-wave
trends for 15 years, says “effective cross-selling” was a key vital factor.
“They are good in tying everything together. There’s the music and drama, however
the pop stars, actors and actresses portray a specific style or look that in
turn created demand for fashion and skincare products or cosmetic procedures ”
Mr Song adds, which definitely will assist in boosting the medical tourism.

 

Established entertainment companies like
S.M.Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and CJ E&M Corporation have been much-admired
for their capability to produce stars, and create captivating content and
well-produced music videos. One of the great example is Psy’s Gangnam Style,
which spawned a unique and remarkable dance that turned into a worldwide phenomenon.
This revelation to Korean fever has helped enormously with the Hallyu development.
It can be clearly seen that the South Korean entertainment industry with all
its style and glamour has had a huge impact in lifting the medical tourism sector
as well – as many flocked to the country for a little nip or tuck to improve
their looks. An example of the Hallyu movement has been successful in promoting
medical tourism is in the ever-increasing patients that want to undergo plastic
surgery in plastic surgery clinics in Gangnam and Apgujeong area which offer
medical tourism packages for foreign visitors, based on the information
provided by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery(ISAPS).  

 

Despite the fact that having the ability
to provide the best services and packages to visitors in medical tourism, it
has two major problems: language and the legal system. Hallyu was only able to
help in promoting the knowledge of culture however not the acquiring of the
language. A fundamental requirement for any kind of hospitality provider is an
effective communication system. In Korea, the first language is not English for
the doctors or their team. Thus, international patients will face language
related issues. To overcome this problem, medical tourism facilitators are
appointed that can steer the industry to the right path. The objective role of
these facilitators is broken down into 4 main facets which are, healthcare,
tourism/concierge, documentation, and travel. At present, the Korean Tourism
Organization (KTO) and Seoul National University Healthcare System Gangnam
Center are jointly organizing training courses for medical tourism coordinators
to provide a good basis of communication.

 

In short, Hallyu’s pivotal role in
medical tourism and the efforts taken by the Korean Government should be
commended. By this type of branding through Hallyu, it has created a trend on
the aesthetic look that has taken the world by storm. Although some may argue
that too much emphasis is put on physical appearance, it does not seem to be
fading away. Definitely, this craze will boost the Korean government’s economy
through medical tourism and the smart utilization of Hallyu to reach this goal
should not be taken for granted.