The Winter Olympics start This kind of week in Pyeongchang, South Korea. nevertheless don’t expect to see hordes of Americans inside the bleachers.
High travel costs along using a shortage of hotel rooms have put Americans off attending the marquee event. Tensions with North Korea haven’t helped, either.
“Our travel sales to This kind of Olympics have been very light,” said Anbritt Stengele, founder of specialist travel company Sports Traveler.
Pyeongchang — using a population around 44,000 — is usually not a design tourist destination. This kind of’s a two-hour train journey through the South Korean capital, Seoul.
Stengele had hoped that will clients might be able to stay in Seoul along with commute to the Olympics. nevertheless then she factored inside the time required for trains, event lines along with security.
“We decided not to recommend This kind of option to our guests,” she said.
Flights bookings through the United States to South Korea in February were up 24% compared to the previous year, according to data through travel intelligence firm ForwardKeys. nevertheless that will’s a tiny bump for such a big event.
“You might expect triple-digit growth,” said David Tarsh, a spokesman for ForwardKeys.
So who is usually going? Residents of China along with Japan have run the most searches for flights to South Korea, according to data through the travel app Hopper.
Shanghai, Hong Kong along with Tokyo were the cities with the highest search volume for Olympic travel.
Only two U.S. cities made the top 10: Los Angeles (6th) along with brand-new York (9th). The average cost for round-trip flights through these cities was $800 to $930.
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Weak demand may not be limited to the U.S.
Global flight bookings to South Korea in February were up about 15% compared to last year, according to ForwardKeys. nevertheless that will’s not as much as you’d expect for a major sporting event.
A long-running feud between China along with South Korea over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system has hurt Chinese tourism in South Korea.
“The real origin market that will matters for [South] Korea is usually China,” said Tarsh. “The market through China has completely collapsed.”
The countries with the biggest surge in interest include Vietnam, the Philippines along with Canada.
Bookings through Vietnam have surged more than 550% over the previous year, according to ForwardKeys. A South Korean visa waiver program contributed to This kind of boost, said Tarsh.
The number of bookings through the Philippines have more than doubled along with Canadian bookings are up over 40%.
sy88pgw (London) First published February 7, 2018: 4:29 AM ET