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Chinese Travel Expansion: International Assistance Group Welcomes HealthLink As Core Partner

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.


Global Assistance Partners Joins International Assistance Group In South Korea

The Republic of Korea (South Korea) made it to the list of the most visited countries in the world with an influx of 17.2 million tourists last year. This was an important consideration for International Assistance Group (IAG), the largest alliance of independent assistance companies worldwide, whose ambitious plan is to offer its affiliates a vetted network of assistance providers in the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

With this goal in mind, IAG announced the accreditation of Global Assistance Partners Co., Ltd. (GAP), a pioneering independent medical assistance company based in South Korea. Over the past three decades, it has garnered an excellent reputation as the medical assistance provider of choice for patients, hospitals and international assistance companies.

GAP dates back to 1983 and is the brainchild of its visionary CEO, Gna Chung, a former tour operator for foreign travellers in South Korea. The company benefits from Mr Chung’s wealth of expertise, and particularly the experience he gained from 1999 to 2005, when he was tasked with arranging medical evacuations and repatriations of mortal remains from North to South Korea on behalf of a major player in the assistance industry.

Demand was growing rapidly at that time, with tourist arrivals increasing from 4,659,785 in 1999 to 6,022,752 six years later. In response to this influx of foreign travellers and expatriates from countries as diverse as China, Norway and Brazil, Global Assistance Partners was officially established as an independent entity in 2009 to meet a need for medical assistance services.

Global Assistance Partners has been a correspondent for the IAG since July 2013 and was ranked No.2 in the IAG Quality Scoring in 2016. This impressive rating proved a solid foundation on which to add to the existing collaboration between the two entities. GAP completed the rigorous selection process and joined the IAG Partnership as an Accredited Service Provider in April this year.

Tourism is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace and Asia is the world’s fastest growing travel market these days. This is particularly true of the Asia-Pacific region, thus for us having Global Assistance Partners on board as a highly qualified local Partner is of great value,” said Cécile Hermetz, General Manager of the International Assistance Group.

Over the years, the GAP team has worked tirelessly to create a qualified network of local hospitals so that it can refer clients to facilities within one hour’s drive of their location. Today, the company is able to serve clients throughout the country by arranging direct billing services in over 200 medical facilities across South Korea.

Only great people provide great services. Global Assistance Partners places a high value on understanding its clients, and their culture, language and needs. Its 24/7 call centre boasts an IT solution developed in-house for call recording, call analysis and case management. It is staffed by 10 experienced multilingual operators and nurses providing 24-hour assistance in English, Japanese and Korean. The team manages more than 15,000 calls per year for over 200 international clients, including several of the world’s largest assistance companies.

GAP core services include: medical referrals to the nearest medical facility, arranging admissions at medical facilities, provision of medical reports, medical interpretation and translation, TPA and GOP services for medical expenses, repatriation/evacuation by aeroplane, helicopter and ambulance, doctor/nurse escort, house calls by a doctor, private caregivers, repatriation of mortal remains and concierge services.

About International Assistance Group

International Assistance Group (IAG) is the largest network of independent assistance companies and service providers across the world. Founded in 1992, International Assistance Group was originally created by five European companies seeking to help one another provide high-quality services.

The group’s success has attracted accredited companies around the world and it today boasts 62 Partners and Accredited Service Providers. Last year alone, International Assistance Group’s Partners collectively handled over 5.2 million cases, 32,450 medical repatriations and 1.6 million roadside cases. IAG’s international presence and range of services enables it to meet the needs of more than 154 million beneficiaries worldwide.

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Immediate Access Needed to Save Lives in Famine-stricken Communities in South Sudan

iPMI Magazine International Emergency Medical and Travel Assistance News: In the wake of three years of ongoing conflict and political turmoil in South Sudan, more than 100,000 people now face starvation and death in Leer and Mayendit counties, and more than one million additional people in Greater Unity region are on the brink of famine, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification update recently released by the Republic of South Sudan, the United Nations, and humanitarian agencies.

Insecurity continues to force families from their homes and hinder humanitarian access in South Sudan. Across the country, nearly 5 million people—or more than 40 percent of the population—face life-threatening hunger, and that number is only expected to increase if additional aid is unable to reach those in need.

"Lives have already been lost because people haven’t had enough to eat, and the situation worsens with every passing day. We can prevent more people from dying, but we must be able to reach them. And we need to reach them now," said Golam Azam, International Medical Corps’ Country Director in South Sudan. "We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately provide humanitarian organizations with safe, unrestricted access to communities in need."

As the crisis in Leer County deepened, families fled to nearby Nyal County to find temporary shelter, food, water, health care, and other critical relief. International Medical Corps, one of the only health organizations working in Nyal County, is supporting host communities and displaced persons by providing lifesaving nutrition services; primary, secondary, and reproductive health care; psychosocial and mental health care; support for survivors of gender-based violence; and awareness-raising to help prevent the spread of disease. International Medical Corps operates a clinic that serves the more than 80,000 people now living in Nyal town as well as mobile clinics that reach an additional 20,000 persons displaced from Leer County. In addition, the organization has also trained community health workers in Leer County to identify and refer those with malnutrition or other common diseases for treatment and support.

International Medical Corps teams are working in seven of South Sudan’s 11 states, providing health care, nutrition services, and other relief to hundreds of thousands of people. This includes working in 77 health facilities and supporting a stabilization center in the displacement camp in the capital of Juba, which provides 24-hour care for severely malnourished children with medical complications.

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Medical, Travel And Technical Assistance


A guide to leading international medical and travel assistance companies and providers, operating within leisure, expatriate and corporate business travel markets globally.