SEOUL – North Korea is seeking to boost medical tourism starting next year, offering foreign and local visitors treatments like dental implants, surgeries, and healthcare for tumors and cardiac problems, state media reported on Friday, amid calls to make the reclusive country a self-reliant economy.
Official daily Rodong Sinmun said in an article that the regime has created a new agency that would offer travel packages with medical services.
Tourists would be able to access medical services while visiting the country, the newspaper said, adding that the measure was taken to address the increasing demand for medical tourism in the country.
The newspaper reported the establishment of a new company called, “Treatment Tourism Exchange Corporation,” which is set to work in coordination with government health bodies and state-run hospitals to offer foreign and local tourists a variety of medical services, ranging from surgeries, dental implants, and treatment for tumors.
The article, which praised the beauty of North Korean mountains, claimed that many of the mountain hot springs, such as the one on Chilbosan in the northeastern Hamyong province, contained natural minerals.
Hot baths in these springs could help in the treatment of conditions such as myocarditis – inflammation of the cardiac muscle – arteriosclerosis (hardening of arterial walls), arthritis and skin ailments, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said the authorities and the TTEC were working together to ensure the success of “treatment tourism,” adding that treatments would be available “individually, as a family and as a group.”
Without offering further details, the article said the government planned to promote the initiative from next year.
North Korea has been facing multiple international sanctions for testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. The sanctions include curbs on its exports and other exchanges with other countries.
But private tourism is among the few economic activities which have not been blocked under the measures.
North Korean officials in a series of articles published on Thursday in the newspaper called for national self-reliance while urging the people to join in the fight against imperialists and foreign enemies in an apparent reference to the United States amid deadlocked denuclearization talks.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Mount Paektu in October and returned to the peak on Monday to inaugurate a newly built city, one of the major construction projects.