Seomyeon Medical Street Project
Busan Metropolitan City

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
○ Problems facing the community - Areas surrounding the SMS were filled with many run-down buildings compared to other regions of the country due to refugees flooding into the city during the Korean War in the 1950s. Moreover, with conditions in these areas continuing to worsen, they were at high risk of becoming slums or areas of high crime. - Previous urban regeneration projects that have focused on improving an area’s physical living environment and been led by the city government have seldom reflected the views or ideas of the local community. ○ Problems facing the city government - Uniformly implemented development projects in the past often led to the damage or destruction of the city’s cultural assets, which was met with strong opposition from academia and civic society. - The city’s old downtown areas were considered obsolete and backward, housing low income families and elderly residents which were aggravating the city’s welfare burden. - The city government has so far carried out various projects to solve urban problems facing the city. However, the results were ineffective and the impact on the economy was minimal. - The necessity to implement a regionally tailored project to revitalize the Seomyeon area was growing.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
○ Different from previous urban regeneration projects that were led by the local government, the SMS Project was initiated with help from the local community and tasked with finding solutions to enhance the quality of life for citizens by promoting the district economy and creating quality jobs. ○ The Busan City Government expanded the division in charge to establish a ‘stay-type’ medical tourism cluster with an aim to renew the city’s cultural, social and economic values as well as carry out‘resident-inclusive’policies. ○ With a vision of ‘Making Busan a Global Medical Tourism City’, the SMS master plan had three goals: 1) developing medical technologies and promoting tourism resources at home and abroad; 2) invigorating the local economy through community businesses and promoting a sense of community; and 3) creating quality jobs. ○ Project overview - The SMS is located in the central business district. The target area is 205,000 ㎡ in total and its 1,294 m long street is endowed with an honorary name. - The project is aiming to make the area a global medical tourism center by establishing necessary infrastructure, improving the street landscape, opening a medical tourism information center and others. - To promote the project, a ‘Seomyeon Medical Street Festival’takes place every year through public-private partnership.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
○ To promote the city’s function as a global medical tourism center, the public and private sectors have worked together. The public sector’s efforts have focused on trying to improve the street landscape and establish infrastructure while the private sector (Medical Tourism Council) organizes the SMS Festival. ○ The initiative has been carried out through joint cooperation among the government, businesses and civic society, contributing to revitalizing the local economy and creating jobs.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
○ Establishing a ‘stay-type’ medical tourism cluster and setting up the Medical Tourism Council with participation from both the public and private sectors - 2008 SMS Project master plan set up - 2010 Designated as one of the leading medical technology promotion and support projects - 2011 Basic and detailed designs completed. Opened a medical tourism information center. Set up of a symbolic structure and bus stops. SMS honorary road name assigned. - 2012 Completed road maintenance work and designs of relevant facilities and structures, SMS project Completed. ○ Promoting the city as a center for medical tourism by hosting the SMS Festival and pioneering overseas markets - 2010 Pioneered a new medical tourism market in Beijing, China. - 2011 Pioneered overseas medical tourism markets (Mongolia and Shenyang in China) and hosted the first SMS Festival - 2012 Hosted the second SMS Festival and held overseas medical tourism information sessions (Shenyang, Hangzhou and Ningbo in China) and familiarization tours - 2013 Hosted the third SMS Festival, pioneered overseas medical tourism markets, and opened an online blog - 2014 Hosted the fourth SMS Festival

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
○ Busan Metropolitan City Government: budget support, institutional improvement and the set up of action plans. ○ Korea Tourism Organization: operation of medical tourism information center. ○ Citizens: outdoor billboard and street stall maintenance. ○ SMS Medical Tourism Council, Korea Tourism Organization,Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Economic Promotion Agency, Busan Medical Industry Association, Busan Tourism Organization and local press: hosting of SMS Festival ○ SMS Medical Tourism Council: offering of free medical services to low-income or vulnerable social groups including multi-cultural families and North Korean defectors ○ Community health centers in Busan: operation of the SMS Customer Support Center.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
○ Cost of financial, technical and human resources - A total of KRW 2.5 billion (1 billion from the central government, 0.8 billion from the city government and 0.7 from the district office) was invested in establishing the necessary infrastructure in 2009. - The SMS Medical Tourism Council was set up, joined by residents, administrators and experts who engaged in every stage of the process from planning to operation of the SMS Festival. - A medical tourism information center opened, and a medical tourism advisory committee, composed of public officials, professors or experts, officials from medical tourism-related organizations, journalists and others, was created. ○ Budget appropriation and sources of funds - The budget for the establishment of infrastructure was covered by central and city governments. - The SMS Festival is financed by the local government through an ordinance on the promotion of the medical tourism industry in Busanjin-gu, Busan Metropolitan City (ordinance enacted on June 10, 2011). - Financial support was provided by the Korea Tourism Organization, Busan Bank, Lotte Department Store Busan and other private donors, offering a good model for urban regeneration.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
○ Building of partnership among residents, the public sector, experts and civic groups - A community association installed to encourage residents to play a leading role in the project - Operation of a council to review and monitor services and provide advice ○ Job creation for residents by attracting international patients - Successfully attracting foreign medical tourists (Number of inbound patients: 925 in 2009 → 2,484 in 2013, up by 260%) ○ Creation of quality jobs - About 200 medical facilities opened in the area along the SMS, invigorating the local economy and creating jobs. ○ Promotion of the local economy - The hosting of the medical tourism festival and the establishment of infrastructure have helped to steadily increase profits, contributing to the local economy. (Medical expenses of international patients: KRW 200 million in 2009 → KRW 2.1 billion in 2013, up tenfold)

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
○ In order to promote the world class medical services available along the SMS as well as the city’s abundant tourism resources to the public, a ‘Customer Center’ was opened online at ( to provide user evaluations and reviews on SMS services and tourist attractions. ○ The economic effects of the festival and others are analyzed by conducting surveys. ○ An SMS Medical Tourism Council and an advisory committee, joined by citizen representatives, district council members, public officials and representatives of civic groups, were set up - To review the development of medical technologies, ensure connection between projects, and offer design and operational advice on individual projects. - To deliberate items submitted by a community association and provide advice.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
○ Lack of awareness among residents - Held a resident meeting at the site and set up a council joined by public officials, residents and relevant organizations before implementing the project to enhance understanding and encourage participation from all stakeholders ○ Lack of legal basis upon which to seek financial support for the medical tourism festival - Enactment of an ordinance on the promotion of the medical tourism industry in Busanjin-gu, Busan Metropolitan City ○ Set up of a medical tourism task force - Test operation of the Medical Tourism Industry Division on September 2014 (an ordinance revised and approved by the city council)

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
○ The area once thought of as a slum was transformed into a medical and tourism center thanks to extensive cooperation among stakeholders. - About 200 medical facilities were set up in the once run-down area, transforming it into a medical tourism center and attracting‘stay-type’inbound medical tourists from home and abroad, helping to promote the local economy and create quality jobs. ○ A citizen-led SMS Medical Tourism Council hosts a ‘SMS Festival’ every year, sponsored by Busan City Government, Busanjin-gu District Office, Korea Tourism Organization, Busan Bank, Busan Economic Promotion Agency, Busan Medical Industry Association and Lotte Department Store Busan, providing a platform for cooperation. ○ The number of citizens and tourists who use medical services has increased, contributing to the local economy. - The number of foreign patient visits: 925 in 2009 → 917 in 2010 → 1,280 in 2011 → 2,286 in 2012 ○ With a growing reputation, the Seomyeon Medical Street has witnessed a rapidly increasing number of visitors. Roughly 200 medical institutions have opened in the area, helping to create jobs for residents. - Medical costs of foreign patients: KRW 229 million in 2009 → KRW 387 million in 2010 → KRW 947 million in 2011 → KRW 1,318 million in 2012 → KRW 2,109 million in 2013 ○ Change in public awareness - As public awareness of the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors as well as citizens increased, the community and shop owners in the area proactively participated in the project. ○ Helping to dilute the concentration of medical tourists in the capital region and create high added value by connecting local medical facilities with tourism and cultural resources.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
○ Laying the foundation for the promotion of the industry on a sustainable basis as an ordinance on the promotion of the medical tourism industry in Busanjin-gu, Busan Metropolitan City (ordinance enacted on June 2011). ○ A medical sponsorship agreement made between the SMS Medical Tourism Council and Busanjin-gu District Office on October 2011. ○ A tri-party agreement for community revitalization signed by the Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences, Busanjin-gu District Office and SMS Medical Tourism Council on September 2013 ○ Selected by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as a leading medical technology promotion and support project ○ Hosting of the SMS Festival on a sustainable basis - A total of 28 booths are set up to provide medical consulting and trial services to roughly 6,000 visitors. - Providing cultural performances and free medical services to socially vulnerable groups including multi-cultural families and North Korean defectors - Trying to make improvements to the festival by accepting ideas and suggestions raised through follow-up surveys ○ To increase global confidence, more than 20 hospitals across the city have been encouraged to acquire JCI certification (international certification)

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
○ Able to discover potential resources from underdeveloped areas by bringing together citizens, public officials, those in media, health care providers, scholars and other members of the community. - In order to encourage public participation from all age groups, online and offline channels through which various suggestions and ideas can be reflected need to be in place. - In order to raise public interest and the participation rate, publicity activities should be done through media such as newspapers, travel guide books, newsletters as well as online. ○ In regards to the implementation of an urban regeneration project, it was more convenient and efficient for a task force team to collectively handle various public services such as city maintenance, community welfare, tourism and others rather than several different teams doing it separatedly. - The cultural content of a region can serve as software to regenerate the city’s old hardware. In addition, joint efforts and cooperation among public and private sectors and citizens can play a key role in invigorating the local economy and creating quality jobs.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Busan Metropolitan City
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Gi-ung Lee
Title:   Official of Land Information Division  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-51-888-2851
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   1001 Jungangdae-ro Yeonje-gu Busan Korea
Postal Code:   611-735

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