Chinese Travel Expansion: International Assistance Group Welcomes HealthLink As Core Partner
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China’s leading provider of mobile health services, HealthLink, has been appointed as an additional Core Partner to the International Assistance Group (IAG), the world’s largest medical and travel assistance alliance.
The decision by IAG’s Supervisory Board followed scrutiny by an internal panel of experts on operational capability, quality and financial standing in accordance with the group’s processes in place for selection at all levels, including an onsite audit. It is the first time that IAG has admitted a third Core Partner in respect of a single country recognising not only size, but also cultural requirements. The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) predicts that overseas trips by the country’s residents will increase from 145 million to more than 400 million by 2030.
“This appointment indicates the flexibility of our working model to meet the needs of key markets by welcoming strong local presence to contribute to our established practice of shared knowledge, involvement and development. The size and cultural requirements of China and the needs of Chinese travellers abroad is ideally suited to our collaborative way of working,” stated Cécile Hermetz, IAG’s General Manager.
Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Beijing, HealthLink’s network covers 2,863 urban cities and regional areas and with an exclusive direct relationship, through China Fast Rescue Alliance, to 289 emergency alarm centers and tens of thousands of hospitals through the 120 emergency number, where they are able to act as a first point of contact. Employing over 350 people including medical staff, HealthLink is able to cater for the demands of international inbound travellers meeting the challenges of language and cultural barriers.
On gaining the IAG Core Partner status, HeathLink’s CEO Derek Deng commented, “We are extremely proud of attaining this level within such a reputed global alliance of independent assistance companies. It will enhance our international operational network through the Partners and Accredited Service Providers of the IAG.”
According to a Joint Travel Report issued by China Tourism Academy with Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency, outbound trips reached 130 million in 2017, up 7% from the previous year. Furthermore, whilst Thailand and Japan remain to be the two largest destinations, places like Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia are seeing huge growth in visitor numbers, where preferential exchange rates and reduction of visa requirements have played a part.
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