With the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics set to take place between 9 - 25 February, International Assistance Group’s Accredited Service Provider for South Korea, Global Assistance Partners, has highlighted some of the challenges that could be faced in obtaining medical care and the measures put in place to deal with them.

 “There are two general challenges that will be faced in the Olympic area,” said Mr Gna Chung the Chief Executive of GAP. “Language barrier of local medical staff as most of the staffs are native Korean, plus the level of nursing support after admission due to lack of manpower.” He goes on to add: “We will establish GAP satellite offices at two tertiary hospitals, GangNeung Asan Hospital and Wonju Severance Hospital, where our staff can be called on to assist – providing the necessary local language skills as well as assessing the level of nursing support that may be needed. These will be supported by our medical staff.”

Whilst medical facilities are generally to a Western standard in South Korea, the increased number of visitors may place demands on the medical infrastructure particularly if they feel more comfortable by resorting to large medical facilities. Additionally, the remoteness of some locations will pose a logistical challenge. In preparation, GAP visited all levels of medical facilities and produced an information pack for use by all IAG Partners in an effort to spread the workload utilising the most appropriate facility and transportation options.

Cécile Hermetz, the General Manager at the IAG stated, “Global Assistance Partners has already established a reputation within the IAG for the quality of service they provide. With IAG Partners, across the globe, having many travellers to cater for in this period, GAPs preparation and plans are important to ensure that this high quality is maintained during such an important event.”

The number of expected visitors to PyeongChang 2018 varies depending on the source of information and the variety of challenges faced regionally. The Yonhap News Agency reported that 83,000 tourist visitors are expected in addition to 2,900 athletes, based on data from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).