Another ticket sales update has been provided by Olympics organizers for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, revealing that just over 60 percent of tickets had been sold with under 50 days to go. As of Thursday, The Korea Herald reports that 655,000 tickets, or 61% of the organizers’ target of 1.07 million tickets, had been sold.
The last update reported 52 percent sold as of the end of November, meaning that while spokespeople have announced their excitement for ticket sales “picking up”, less than 10 percent have sold in just under a month since then.
Leading events include alpine skiing, the most popular so far, with 81 percent of the tickets sold, followed by cross-country skiing (79 percent), short track speed skating (74 percent) and bobsleigh (70 percent). The opening ceremony has seen 67% of its tickets sold so far.
Sales for the Winter Paralympics have been even worse, with 81,000 tickets, or 37 percent of the sales target of 220,000, sold as of Thursday.
Ticket sales for both Olympics Games have been sluggish since their onsales, with main concerns being over political tensions with bordering North Korea, but a lack of tourism appeal also being noted. Olympics organizers have repeatedly assured athletes’ and visitors’ safety, but many would-be attendees won’t risk the trip.
In months past, both the Korea Federation of Banks and the Korean government have attempted to subsidize slow sales; the banks bought 1 billion won worth of tickets and the government teamed up Seoulian to give away tickets in a social media marketing push. Most recently, Korean government deported 17 foreign nationals “to ensure the safety of upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympics”, including nationals from Southeast Asia and Central Asia, who were believed to pose a terror risk.
According to the government official, cited by the report from local daily Seoul Shinmun, the government cooperated with 50 foreign intelligence agencies — from China, France, Japan, Russia, the US and more – to identify the deported individuals, who were members of organizations that have been closely watched by the intelligence services.
The official said, “As players and supporters from all around the world come to Korea for the Olympics, the government has to assure the visitors’ safety.”
The report added that international intelligence agencies are likely to dispatch agents to Korea during the Olympics, to ensure the safety of their nationals. Earlier this month, a counter-terrorism exercise was held at the PyeongChang Olympics Plaza, where the opening and closing ceremonies will take place.
The Winter Olympic Games will run February 9 through 25, 2018. The Winter Paralympics will be held March 9-18.