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ISSN : 2233-4165(Print)
ISSN : 2233-5382(Online)
Journal of Industrial Distribution & Business Vol.9 No.1 pp.67-76

The Cultural Similarity Effects on the Industry of Medical Tourism

Jun Zhang**, Hoon-Young Lee***
**First Author, Assistant Professor, School of Global Business, Konkuk University, Korea. Tel: +82-2-450-4048, E-mail:
***Corresponding Author, Professor, School of Business, Kyung Hee University, Korea. Tel: +82-2-961-0778, E-mail:
December 10, 2017. December 17, 2017. January 15, 2018.


Purpose - With the worldwide aging problem and the development of globalization, customers prefer to seek affordable medical services with the higher quality overseas. This new trend has urged some destination countries to improve their services for the more competitive advantages over other countries. Literature research indicate that medical quality and cost may be the key factors influencing global patients’ decisions. In the international environment, however, medical tourism destinations are selected due to cultural similarity between the hosting country and the customers’ own country. The more similarity perceived between the two countries leads foreign patients to choose the considering country as the destination for medical tourism. However, little research has been conducted on this topic. Thus, we empirically investigate how cultural similarity influences Chinese medical customers’ choice of the destinations. We also consider the factors related to medical competency and travel attribute which might affect customers’ decisions along with some moderating roles of disease types.
Research design, data, and methodology – We proposed a research model in order to confirm the relations among different variables of cultural similarity, medical competency, travel attractiveness, disease types, and destination choice. The questionnaire survey is processed in the more economically developed regions of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu. Conditional logit regression is applied to analyze the data of 881.
Results - Results indicate that cultural similarity is the important predictor of Chinese customers’ decision to select a medical country. However, the effects of cultural similarity vary according to the disease types. We also find that medical competency and travel attractiveness influence their decisions with the moderating role of disease types.
Conclusions – Cultural similarity is the important factor that influences Chinese potential medical tourists’ decisions to select a destination. Marketing managers should consider the effects of cultural similarity when developing strategies for attracting Chinese medical tourists. Since medical competency and travel attractiveness are still the critical key elements for them to evaluate the destination countries, it is necessary to continuously improve medical service quality and facilities. The results also recommend that medical managers should sharpen their marketing strategies by segmenting Chinese potential customers in terms of disease types.

JEL Classifications: I15, M31, Z32.

문화적 유사성이 의료관광산업에 미치는 영향에 관한 연구

장준**, 이훈영***


    Ministry of Education, Science and Technology




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