Medical tourism refers to people traveling across international borders to receive medical treatments in a country outside of their place of primary
residence. The reasons for this reasons might be due to the better quality care, lower cost of services, and quicker access to healthcare offered in foreign
countries. Medical tourism started as early as 2005 in Korea when the Korean government formed a task force to attract foreign patients. A study done in 2015 shows that foreign patients are mainly 34% Chinese, 14% US nationals, 7% Russians, and 6% Japanese. Medical tourism brings about the economic growth of the medical tourism industry but also this growth could potentially lead to an internal brain drain when the resources, such as the shifting of medical staffs from the public sector to more well paid private sectors, are used to support the foreign market compromising on the medical treatment for the domestic patients. Southern Gangwon is one province in Korea that is popular for medical tourism. In particular, the city Gangneung is being publicized as a medical tourism city. This is due to her trusted disease-specific and integrated treatment systems as well
as advanced healthcare with the most developed and forward medical equipment. In addition, one-stop integrated medical interpretation service with medical coordinators to bridge the language barrier between the foreigners and the doctors.
However, as the population becomes more health-conscious there is a constant and conscious needs to take on a more preventive role against health
problems. An example would be the Donghae Mureung Health Forest. The Health Forest cater services such as Heat Therapy which help to boost immune system. The facilities also include professional medical equipment such as body fat monitor and eczema diagnostic machine to allow the users to constantly keep track of their health. The service is also guided by in-house nurses. Patients can also be engaged in a healthy lifestyle by attending trekking courses and consuming a healthy diet cook with naturally locally grown food. The whole experience is a wellness retreat that takes into account the health of the patient, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Southern Gangwon is particularly suitable for this Health Forest due to its geographical location. Hospital in this case act as an supporting infrastructure instead when the people take preventive measures and reduce the risks of falling sick and seeking treatments.