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Koreans aim for medical tourists from Cambodia

The 24,000 Cambodians who visited South Korea during 2011 included about 100 people going for medical services, most of them high-ranking Cambodian government officials, according to Charm Lee, President of the Korea Tourism Organization.

At a Korean Medical Tourism conference on Saturday at Sofitel in Phnom Penh, the virtues of medical treatment in Korea were explained by Lee and representatives from seven Korean hospitals.

“The reason we come to Cambodia was to seek out the Cambodian market,” he said through an interpreter. “We came to Cambodia because we think that market is good and that Cambodian tourists are interested in Korea.”

Lee noted that in addition to medical services, Korean movies and hip-hop songs were popular in Cambodia.

Lee said medical care in Korea was less expensive than that in Singapore but more expensive than in Thailand.

Son Insuk, Director of Yeongcheon Son Hospital in Busan said since many Cambodians had sought treatment at his hospital, he intended to open a clinic in Cambodia in the near future and was seeking the co-operation of a Cambodian doctor for the venture.

Ang Kim Eang, President of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said increasing numbers of Cambodian people were starting to be able to afford medical treatment in Korea.

“People who have new cars should be able to afford medical treatment in Korea,” he said. “Medical services in Korea are lower in cost than in the USA and Japan."

Cambodian Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said he did not have statistics on the number of Cambodian people who travel abroad to get medical services, because he was busy with yesterday’s elections.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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