South Korean President Moon Jae-in has bought tickets for next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as organizers seek to promote the Games.
It was revealed earlier this month that only 22.7 percent of tickets available for next year’s Winter Olympics had been purchased so far with little more than five months to go until the Opening Ceremony.
This figure is thought to mark the lowest in recent Winter Olympic history at this stage of preparations.
Only 4.85 percent have been sold in South Korea, even though it was forecast that the host nation will account for 70 percent of the overall total.
The remainder sold so far have been bought by Authorized Ticket Resellers (ATRs) for international purchase – so are not necessarily yet in the hands of clients planning to attend the Games.
A total of 1.18 million tickets are available for the Olympics.
It is hoped that 90 percent of this total, so 1.07 million, will be sold beforehand.
Only 52,000 have been sold in South Korea so far, of which 62 percent were supposedly purchased in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and around 83 percent by people aged between 20 and 40.
Fears had been raised about the level of promotion done by Pyeongchang 2018 for the Games but the organizers have now been able to count on support from Moon.
The South Korean President posted a photo of himself on Facebook buying tickets, shortly after the second round of online ticket sales began.
It was claimed that President Moon bought tickets to watch a figure skating event at the Olympics.
Organizers are now using a “top-down” approach, with President Moon writing to different Provinces to encourage them to begin efforts to sell tickets there.
A “full stadia” policy is still being pursued.
Officials are seemingly planning to do this by making more tickets available for corporate use, however, rather than by the tried and tested method of busing in local schoolchildren.
Concerns over international sales relate to the high price of package deals being promoted by ATRs which are thought to be pricing out many other potential ticket buyers.
Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom criticized ATRs for the expense and promotion of ticket sales during the opening session of the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission last week.
There are also worries over the low numbers bought so far in China and Japan.
These are two key markets forecast to collectively contribute to 63 percent of all international sales.
Regional tensions surrounding North Korea are seemingly putting off some international visitors.
Heightened tensions between Seoul and Beijing over the crisis is also being blamed for a lack of promotion within China.
It has been claimed that Koreans are known to be last-minute buyers, which was a similar refrain before Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
Both Games saw initial low ticket sales boosted in the final weeks beforehand.
The Olympic Games are due to take place from February 9 to 25.
A separate ticketing process in underway for the Paralympic Games scheduled for the following month.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.