North and South Korea to talk ahead of Olympic games
The former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold shares his reaction.
Near the end of December, some 655,000 tickets for the Winter Games in South Korea was sold, according to the organizing committee’s official website Pyeongchang2018.com.
That is 61 percent of the 1.07 million tickets, organizers had the goal for the event, whose opening is scheduled for February. 9. Even the website confirmed that the sales ” were slow.”
At the end of 2017, only 655,000 tickets for the Olympic games in Pyeongchang, it was already sold. Organized originally expected to sell 1.07 million for the February Olympics.
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Speculation that interest in attending the games is influenced by the tensions between South Korea and North Korea; the site of the olympic Winter games, is located just 50 kilometers from the demilitarized zone between the two countries. What’s more, the remote town of Pyeongchang is not attractive enough to attract travelers, some in the tourism industry say.
I think that people are too afraid about North Korea, but to be honest [Pyeongchang, South Korea] is not a great tourist destination to begin with. You have to go, because you want to see the Olympic games.
– Brian Peters, CEO of Bucket List Events, Texas-based travel agency
“I think that people are too afraid about North Korea, but to be honest it is not a great tourist destination to begin with,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Bucket List Events, a Texas-based travel agency that offers sports-themed packages, told L. A. Biz. “I think I should be espousing the opposite point of view, but it is not only a great tourist destination. You have to go, because you want to see the Olympics.”
International Olympic Committee member Gian-Franco Kasper told a French newspaper that the tensions with North Korea affect the interest in attending.
“I will tell you the truth: I don’t expect too many spectators on the Pyeongchang 2018 Games,” Kasper said. “The current political crisis in the region is not conducive for the Europeans to travel to South Korea.”
Attempts to get a response from the Olympic committee were not successful.
A travel expert says the sluggish sales are partly due to the location of the Games in the more rural town of Pyeongchang. “I think I should be espousing the opposite point of view, but it is not only a great tourist destination. You have to go, because you want to see the Olympics.”
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South Korea has a lot riding on the event, not the least of which is the expectation that it will boost the economy, the fourth largest in Asia.
Lee Hee-beom, the head of South Korea’s Winter games organizing committee, said last year that the expectation is that the host of the event would bring in almost $30 billion — by such things as tourism and construction — to the country in the next ten years.
The head of South Korea’s Winter games organizing committee hoped the event would bring in almost $30 billion — by such things as tourism and construction — to the country in the next ten years.
Pyeongchang2018.com described in the Winter Games is a good opportunity to promote the land of beautiful mountains, beautiful vistas and other tourism-related products.”
MyBucketListEvents.com says the total cost of going to the olympics for somewhere between 7 and 19 days is $4,895. The cost of a return flight to Seoul from the United States around the time of the Winter Games averages about $1,000, according to several travel websites.
An example of the budget for the event in the Money Magazine showed a total of $4,683 $915 for a flight to Seoul Incheon International Airport, $1,870 for a week’s stay in the hotel in the near of the event, $200 for a Pyeonchang Rail Pass of Seoul, and $1,548 for four ticket packages for alpine skiing, couple figure skating, speed skaing, a men’s hockey match, and snowboarding.
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Officials say there’s still time for sales to pick up.
“All in all, they feel very confident and I have always said that we have to rely on the Koreans,” said Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, to USA Today. “They have always said: there would be a tree and a last-minute surge of sales.”
Elizabeth Llorente is a Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.