Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 | Page 46

Medical Tourism News

Aviation group calls for swifter travel resumption in the Asia-Pacific
The region is lagging other areas in terms of air travel demand

The �nternational Air Transport Association ( �ATA� has strongly advised countries in the Asia��acific to ease travel restrictions to boost the travel industry ’ s recovery in the region .

�n �arch , air travel demand reached �� percent of pre�C���� levels in the Asia��acific , while the number had remained under �� percent for most of the last two years . �espite the uptick , the growth is much slower than that of other regions .
�This is far below the global trend where markets have recovered to ��� of pre�crisis levels . The lag is because of government restrictions . The sooner they are lifted , the sooner we will see a recovery in the region ’ s travel and tourism sector , and all the economic benefits that will bring , � said �illie �alsh , �ATA ’ s �irector �eneral at the Changi Aviation Summit .
He added that many people were willing to resume travelling as soon as restrictions were lifted and that jobs in the industry were at stake , so governments should get ready for the restart .
�n particular , �alsh urged countries to remove all restrictions for vaccinated travellers , including quarantine and C������� testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers in areas with high levels of population immunity .
Two main roadblocks to the region ’ s recovery in air travel are the restrictions still in place in China and Japan .
�So long as the Chinese government continues to maintain their �ero�C���� approach , it is hard to see the country ’ s borders reopening . This will hold back the region ’ s full recovery .
�hile Japan has taken steps to allow travel , there is no clear plan for the reopening of Japan for all inbound visitors or tourists , � he said .
Patients travelling to Korea increased in 2021
It ’ s a positive sign suggesting the industry is recovering after the pandemic

The �orean �inistry of Health and �elfare ( ��H�� has reported a �� . � percent increase in the number of international patients who travelled to �orea for medical treatment in ���� , signalling the industry is on a path to recovery after the flow of patients plummeted in ���� due to the impact of C������� on cross� border trips .

�isitors hailed from ��� countries , but American and Chinese patients accounted for �� percent of the total , followed by those from �ietnam ( � . � percent� and �ongolia ( � . � percent� .
�ental hospitals and clinics saw the highest increase of �� . � percent , while general hospitals recorded a �� . � percent surge .
�n order to reverse the drop in overseas patient numbers due to the pandemic , in July ���� ��H� implemented a fast�track procedure for international patients with severe illnesses as a way to facilitate their travel to �orea , with visa processing shortened from five weeks to one week .
�n another sign of support for the industry , the government launched the �Second Comprehensive �lan to Support �verseas ��pansion of �edical Services and Attraction of �nternational �atients� in �arch to assist health travel agencies while also cracking down on illegal brokers .
�The business of attracting international patients has a positive impact on tourism as well as on medical treatment revenue . The high value�added sector can also lead to more jobs , � �oon Chansik , ��H� �irector��eneral for �nternational Cooperation , said in a press release .
�As more international patients are e�pected to come to �orea thanks to the increasingly stable C������� situation at home and abroad , we will work closely with relevant ministries to promote the e�cellence of �orean medicine in a bid to help the nation consolidate its position as a powerhouse in the global healthcare market . �
44 JULY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com