Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Why South Korea's men are buying tons of cosmetics

Ladies, step aside. In South Korea, cosmetics companies are now targeting men.

It's a trend that clashes with Western ideas about masculinity and gender, but Korean men are spending a ton of money on cosmetics products in order to improve their skin and appearance.

South Korean men are the world's top per-capita consumers of skincare products, with four times the purchases of runner-up Denmark, according to Euromonitor. The grooming industry is worth more than $1 billion, with projected growth of nearly 50% over the next five years.

Korean men are not just buying aftershave and lotion, either. Demand is increasing for anti-aging products, masks and mists.

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, a cultural analyst at Kyunghee University, said that men are using more cosmetics because in South Korea, appearance is everything.

"We have a proverb," Lee said. "If you buy something, you must choose the one which has a good appearance."

In South Korea's ultra-competitive society, he said that kind of decision-making also applies to people. When employers are looking to hire, for example, many of the candidates will have come from excellent universities and have similar qualifications.

One thing that can set a candidate apart is their appearance.

"If you want to have a higher salary, you must do the best for your human capital," he explained.
Chris Hong, an business executive about to hit the big 4-0 this year, is the industry's ideal customer. His regimen includes twice-yearly Botox injections, as well as laser treatments to smooth out imperfections on his face.

Hong freely admits that he spends more time, money and effort on beauty than his wife.

"Whenever you do more grooming you feel better," Hong said. "I don't want to be looked at as older."
International names including Lab Series and Biotherm are among the most popular brands. But Minji Kim, an analyst at Euromonitor, said local companies are aggressively competing for male customers.

"Almost all domestic players have launched men's lines." said Kim, who singled out local manufacturers AmorePacific and LG Household & House Care as homegrown success stories.

AmorePacific has even launched a special military line, which features natural camouflage makeup and post-training cooling and whitening masks. According to the company, an estimated 70% of South Korea's military men use cosmetics.

"Interest ... in cosmetic products begins during [military service] -- due to the frequent outdoor activity that requires sun protection and skin care in general," the company said in an email.

by Kathy Novak

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Mascot of the Veranda MediSpa

We are pleased to present you Zelda, our wonderful mascot henceforth illustrating each of our personal posts, sometimes denouncing maliciously some objectionable situations.

You will meet her in the flesh during your stay at Veranda MediSpa Kep, but beware, Zelda chooses her friends!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

An industry where ownership of content counts for little

With a vast amount of content and knowledge shared over the internet, there is a growing lack of respect for ownership and content ideas. Keith Pollard outlines how the "shortcut to becoming rich" through content duplication plagues the medical tourism industry.

Time for a gripe...

It's now been over a decade since we set up the Treatment Abroad medical tourism portal - ten years in which our company has invested cash, time and effort in creating and maintaining content that aims to inform patients about their options when considering medical tourism. Ten years in which I personally have invested my time and intellect in preparing presentations for conference presentations around the world. As a business, we are very happy to share what we know and have learned about the medical tourism industry.

But, if there's one major gripe that I have about the sector, it is the lack of respect for the ownership of content and ideas. It's part of the "get rich quick" philosophy which plagues the industry and is fuelled by the hype that surrounds it.

It seems that the way to build a business or build your reputation in medical tourism is to steal someone one else's content or ideas.

Here are a few examples that I have come across over the years that have eaten up my time and that of my team, have diverted us from other priorities and have sometimes cost us money for lawyers to protect our rights.

The latest issue… “It's not my problem.... the web designer did it”

A few weeks back, our Production Manager, was looking at the issue of content duplication. Placing duplicate content on multiple sites gets us penalised by Google. With 30 plus healthcare sites, we have to be careful that we don't break the rules.  Our Production Manager came across a site where the content looked very familiar - (now taken offline). Page after page on the site contained content that had been copied and pasted from the client profiles, destination information and treatment section pages of Treatment Abroad.  All of this content had been written by professional copywriters who are part of our content team.

So, the pursuit of the “infringer” began. Who owned the site and who could we pursue for recompense? Emails to the site’s info@ address got no response. But we were able to determine that the site was a sister site, operated by the owner of But the site contains no reference to the company who owns it or where they were. We determined that the site was registered from West Palm Beach, Florida. We then emailed a number of businesses that appeared to be advertising on Medical Tourism Business, asking whether they had contact and business details of the owners. And we got a response. A facilitator in Thailand responded, saying that he had paid $500 to Medical Tourism Business who promised to send him 50 patient referrals….. but, so far, he had not received a single one. He gave us the name of the company that owned the site – Zeewik LLC, based in West Palm Beach, Florida and run by a Gilliam Elliott.

So who is Gilliam Elliott? According to his LinkedIn profile, Gilliam was most recently the Senior Membership Coordinator for the Medical Tourism Association in Florida, where he states that he was "Creator of the Facilitator Start-Up Kit" and "Toured Asia and across the US marketing medical travel". Perhaps he should have spent some time researching copyright law?. We finally managed to get a response from Gilliam.... “the website was created by an independent web developer that we hired online ……. We were not aware of the origin of the information”.

Well, I’m sorry, Gilliam, that’s not a great excuse. You own the site… and you carry the can, if someone you hire to build the site (presumably at rock bottom prices) breaks the law.

Why pay for information, if you can get it for free?
A similar issue of “content theft” arose when one of our team came across a web site for a hospital in Ghana with an extensive treatments and conditions section that provided some excellent information for patients. The only problem was…. that the Intuition team in the UK had written it all! An eager content producer in Africa decided it was much quicker (and cheaper!) to cut and paste hundreds of pages from our UK site Private Healthcare UK than to go the trouble of writing new content. We finally got the content removed.

The Russian Treatment Abroad

At a conference in Turkey… as I enter the exhibition area, a business contact comes up to me and says, “Hey, Keith… I see you’ve opened a branch in Russia”. “No”, I reply. “But that’s your stand over there”, he responds. Across the exhibition, there it was…., using an adaption of our logo, the same brand colours. Perhaps that explained why we had received a few calls in previous weeks asking about our Russian site. One patient had contacted us saying “Their managers are saying to me that they are part of…. Is it real? Because I really trust your site and your services”.

OK, we should have registered the Russian domain perhaps, but we owned the brand. Our lawyers issued a legal letter to the Swiss and Ukrainian representatives of the company operating the Russian site. Eventually, the site owner relented, and the design was changed to reduce confusion.

Another experience of “Content theft”... dental travel to Turkey

It seems to be a recurring problem. If you write great content, you can expect it to be copied.  Another site... this time about dental travel to Turkey. We discovered a site with plenty of well written information for patients about the pro’s and con’s of Turkey as a medical tourism destination and information on the various treatments available. And… Ok, you guessed it. Where had all the information come from? Treatment Abroad!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

... or so the saying goes. But it would be better if, once in a while, online publishers in the medical tourism sector would pay for the privilege. Gilliam will be hearing from our lawyers.

Keith Pollard

Health and wellness tourism potential for Malaysia

Well known for medical tourism, Malaysia has not promoted health and wellness tourism as much. The sports ministry will continue to grow the "Fit Malaysia" brand.

Well known for medical tourism, Malaysia has not promoted health and wellness tourism as much.

Malaysia's wellness and fitness industry has the potential to become a big revenue earner for the tourism sector, according to sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He argues that Malaysia should try to capture some of the market by developing wellness tourism alongside medical tourism. This could include the Malaysia Urban Retreat Festival (Murfest), yoga and spiritual retreats, as well as fitness weeks.

Jamaluddin suggests, “There is much potential for wellness travel to be turned into a revenue generating industry. Murfest 2015 attracted 5000 local and international participants. Attaining health and well being through physical, psychological or spiritual activities have become an international trend among health-conscious people. We could have an annual international yoga festival to attract visitors who are into fitness and spirituality. Malaysia already has the tourism infrastructure“

The sports ministry will continue to grow the "Fit Malaysia" brand, launched in 2014, by combining sports activities with other elements that enhance mind-body connection, similar to some of the programmes presented during the three-day Murfest. "Fit Malaysia" is a brand to encourage Malaysians to adopt healthy lifestyles and excel in sports.

Jamaluddin created Fit-Malaysia and wants it to work with Murfest to extend the physical focus to incorporate the mental aspect as well,  "We want to see fitness in a wider scope. It should not just be about physical sports, running, cardio, boxing, self-defence or cycling, but also about mind-body wellness. Fly yoga or aerial yoga, a new form of exercise that makes use of hammocks, is being considered for this year's "Fit Malaysia" event.”

Mother’s Day vouchers for ‘mummy makeovers’ are madness writes Wendy Tuohy

EACH to her own when it comes to cosmetic surgery, but one way not to sell more of it (or any of it to me) is by marketing to the insecurities of us mothers by trying to sell us “mummy makeovers”.

In fact I’d put money that any mother propped on her pillows on Sunday week who receives a Mother’s Day card with a voucher for a “mummy makeover” inside, will be one grumpy mummy.

By “mummy makeover” we’re not talking swapping up your hair and makeup or going for a bit of pampering, we’re talking literal cosmetic chop and change — to that tired-looking “post-baby” face, boobs, “tummy” or even your, um, parts.

We’re talking switching back the dial to as close to eye-bag free Kardashian level, Kate Moss jeans-fitting, Elle-trim wetsuit hips, selfie-MILF perfection.

Every woman has the right to whatever she wants to do with or to her own body and not be judged, go your hardest.

But those of us who plan to age disgracefully (ie. naturally) do not want the gods of Facebook’s advertising algorithms suggesting we pay someone to suck out, lift up, plump, tighten or “sculpt” away all physical traces left by motherhood.

Hands off Dr Nip ‘n’ Tuck — the bits you can see and the bits you can’t.

I want to look as good as I can, for sure.

We’re not all supposed to be Kim Kardashian. Picture: Rick Diamond/Getty

Or ex-supermodel Elle Macpherson at 52. Source: Facebook

Yes Kate, you’re looking great. Picture: David M. Benett/Getty

But all of those signs my body built and carried three babies, bore them, fed them, lugged ‘em around on a hip and is still running ragged to raise them well (going with too little sleep, too little exercise and sometimes maybe a bit too much comfort-mashed potato) is not something I want erased, “made over” or cosmetically wiped out.

One of the more depressing news items I’ve read in the last few years is the fact so many women think they not only need to have their breasts “repaired” after feeding, but also feel the very parts that pushed the baby out are no longer pretty enough and need surgical “correction”.

Now, “mummies” also think they need to achieve the dreaded Barbie look (all over).

Last year the internet fell head over heels for the cuteness so-called “Dad bod” — “a physique that looks like a formerly fit athlete has gone a bit to seed and grown a nice layer of protective fat around his muscular girth.

A body that says “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time,” according to Time magazine.

Yet it offers mummies constant reminders — via personally directed ads — that babies and lack of personal time, sleep and a personal chef notwithstanding, we should still be as sleek and slinky as ferrets.

Please note, would-be cosmetic surgery standard setters, even Elastogirl from The Incredibles — a mother of three who could still pull off plenty of super human super hero stuff — had curves (bless you compassionate cartoonists).

Like I said, do what you like if it makes you feel good, there’s no shame in going under the knife.

But do it on your terms and not because any one, or any thing, or any Hollywood super babe/mum with a live-in pilates instructor makes you think the signs of motherhood are, per se, “unattractive”.

Some of us just tolerate the tracks of “mummy” time on our faces and bodies and souls.

Some of us don’t mind them, and some even like them, because they’re tangible reminders of just what awesome things our bodies have pulled off.

Those of us in the last group are not in the market to be marketed “solutions” for our mum bods, or get them hollowed out, filled in, tightened or perked up.

If you really want to make us happy please send cheese* (*and wine) this Mother’s Day.

Wendy Tuohy

Thailand entices the Middle East market by offering a Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess

This year, there are a total of 66 exhibitors from Thailand joining ATM 2016, most of which are hotels offering unique products and services such as pool villas, boutique experiences and total privacy. In addition, there are a number of health & wellness companies, attractions, and a Thai cooking school.

DUBAI - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is participating in the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which are being held in Dubai, UAE, from 25-28 April, 2016, to provide the opportunity for Middle East travel operators to learn more about Thailand’s initiative to best cater to the Middle East tourists– the ‘Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess’, spearheaded by the ‘Amazing Thailand Luxury’ campaign.

This year, there are a total of 66 exhibitors from Thailand joining ATM 2016, most of which are hotels offering unique products and services such as pool villas, boutique experiences and total privacy. In addition, there are a number of health & wellness companies, attractions, and a Thai cooking school.

During the ATM 2016, TAT hosted the Amazing Thailand Luxury Networking Reception in the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel on 26 April, 2016, allowing the chance for top Thailand’s travel executives led by Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor,  to mingle with representatives from the Middle East travel and hospitality industry and members of the media. The launch event gave people the chance to network and learn more about the latest developments in Thailand’s travel industry as well as to discuss prospective business and partnerships.

The event was aimed at boosting the numbers of luxury tourists from Middle East nations by promoting Thailand’s wide range of high-class attractions and experiences as well as fine dining, health and wellness opportunities, family friendly resorts and attractions, as well as world-class shopping. These are all backed by the touch of Thainess and innate hospitality that makes every visit to Thailand a unique and memorable experience.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Middle East travellers are renowned for recognising quality and for seeking out family friendly luxury offerings, all of which Thailand is famous for. In terms of accommodation, healthcare, shopping and cultural experiences, Thailand’s standards are always high. By marketing the kingdom as a ‘Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess’, we are positioning ourselves as a unique nation that serves the needs of luxury lovers while also meeting their religious requirements.”

To ensure that Middle East travellers as well as tourists from other Muslim nations get the most out of their Thai travels, TAT is working with tour operators, hotels and other businesses; such as, hospitals, health centres and restaurants to ensure the needs of Middle East visitors are met. Many hotels and businesses now employ Arabic speaking staff and there are many restaurants in Thailand that offer halal dishes both local and international.

A mobile application has also been designed to help Muslim travellers find the nearest mosques, halal restaurants, and other facilities of cultural importance to Muslim travellers.

As a result of these efforts, the Master Card Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 ranked Thailand second place on the list of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations for the second year running.

With the collaboration from its strategic partners in using both social and traditional marketing tools, including celebrity marketing, Thailand has been able to better reach high-quality target markets in the Middle East, no matter coming as a family or alone; for business or pleasure; either honeymoon couples, or those who need healthcare services.

The Middle East remains one of the key markets to raise Thailand’s quality tourism benchmark, especially for people seeking luxury experiences and healthcare. The importance of the Middle East Market has been noted as 67% of Middle East visitors make repeat visits to the country, an outstanding record that underscores Thailand’s enviable status as a top leisure travel destination.

Thailand welcomed 571,920 visitors from the Middle East region in 2015, with 163,960 visitors from the UAE, 90,012 from Oman, over 85,597 from Iran and 71,000 from Kuwait. In 2014, Middle East visitors to Thailand stayed an average of 11.88 days, and spent an average of 171 US dollars daily, compared with an average 9.8 day stay for other nationalities who spent about 148 US dollars a day.

2016 is a year of events and several celebrations in Thailand and below are some of the upcoming major events in the kingdom:

TTM+ 2016: The Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion (TTM+) 2016 that will be held on 8-10 June, 2016, in Chiang Mai.

Lady Month: August is going to be promoted as the ‘Lady Month’ in accordance with the 84th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen to encourage more female travellers to visit Thailand. A variety of activities will be conducted to promote this market; such as, a fast track immigration lane for ladies, special offers and discounts for female shoppers, a lady’s golf challenge, lady celebrities and bloggers to Thailand, plus more.

In the region, the TAT Dubai and Middle East Office will soon unveil its new Ambassador to promote Thailand as a chic leisure destination for women.