Monday, 18 Dec 2017

South Korea allow visa-free travel to Pyeongchang 2018 for travellers from Vietnam

Updated at Saturday, 18 Nov 2017, 11:17
The Hanoitimes - In a bid to boost poor levels of ticket sales for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, the South Korean Government has announced that it will allow visa-free travel to tourists from Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.
The move is until next April, however, it is understood this only applies to visitors entering in groups through Yangyang International Airport. The Games get underway on February 9.
South Korea's decision to allow the United States to install its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile system within the country is expected to help relations with China and attract more tourists from there.
South Korea has also announced that it will extend its $15 (£12/€13) visa-free waiver for Chinese tourists with electronic passports until the end of 2018. In a sales update in October, it was revealed that only 30.3 per cent of the 1.07 million tickets organisers hope to sell for next year's Games have been snapped up.
The update also revealed that as little as 20.7 per cent of the 760,000 tickets available for the South Korean general public have been sold. International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper has admitted he does not expect many spectators to attend events at next year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
The Swiss, head of the the Association of Winter Olympic International Federations and member of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, told FrancsJeux he believes Europeans spectators have been put off from travelling to Pyeongchang by the current political tension in the Korean Peninsula.
Kasper warned attendances for events such as skiing, where South Korea does not have a strong heritage, are likely to be the most sparsely-populated events at the Games.
However, Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, has reported significant movement following his recent strong criticism of poor ticket sales for the Paralympic Games - and expects "full venues".
It was reported last month that only 0.2 per cent of tickets had been sold for the Paralympics, although a Pyeongchang 2018 spokeswoman claimed it was actually 4.3 per cent when group sales were taken into account. Parsons raised the issue with the President of  Pyeongchang 2018, Lee Hee-beom, and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in while visiting the country.
Ha Phuong
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