In an effort to bolster its tourism, South Korea is offering a Value-Added Tax (VAT) refund for 2016 foreigners who come to their country for plastic surgery.
South Korea has become Asia’s hub for plastic surgery and boasts the world’s highest rate of plastic surgery per capita. Reuters reported that more than 4,000 clinics are now open for business and that an estimated 13 procedures has been performed for every 1,000 people in the country.
How the VAT Refund Works
If a foreigner comes to South Korea for plastic surgery, they can submit their receipt and receive a refund for a portion of their procedure. The surgery must be performed in a South Korean clinic or hospital.
Why the Need for More Tourism?
The main reason, as reported by Yonhap (South Korea’s largest news agency), is the outbreak of MERS. Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome has been making waves since May and has caused over 35 deaths.
The tourism agency in South Korea has reported 40% fewer tourists to the country since the beginning of summer. In fact, CNBC reported mass cancellations by tourists (data provided by their government).
Plastic Surgery Tourism: Safe or Stupid?
Although South Korea may be a fine place for plastic surgery if you are South Korean, I cannot advise Americans to go overseas for their procedures.
Not only are training and educational requirements different than in the United States, but the governing bodies that assess the safety of equipment and facilities has different standards than we do.
Additionally, foreign patients must understand that all procedures carry some risk. Narrowing that window for recovery time and adding a long flight home can exacerbate those risks.
Complications can include post-op bleeding, hematoma, embolism, and infection, just to name a few. It is always better to choose a plastic surgeon close to home that is board certified by your state’s Medical Board and has five to ten years of experience performing the procedure you want.
Ready to Meet our Team of New York Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeons?
A plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon must have certain training and demonstrate their skills in order to be able to carry those titles. If you’d like to meet with our aesthetic team for a free consultation, please call us today in NYC at (212) 206-0023 or in Commack, Long Island at (631) 499-1831.