With just three months to go before the 2018 Winter Olympics open in Pyeongchang, South Korea, ticket sales should be close to sold out.
But due to fears of South Korea’s unpredictable neighbour in the North, just 50 miles away, sales are at an all time low, according to new reports.
Organizers say they have hit just 41% of their sales target of 1.06 million tickets, with sales in South Korea even weaker than those by international tourists.
Anbritt Stengele, founder of Sports Traveler, a Chicago-based travel agency, told USA Today that she’s never seen such a sluggish market.
“The interest level is very low for this Olympics,” said Stengele. “We had Sochi (Russia) in 2014, and that interest level was lower than Vancouver (in 2010). But this one is even lower than Sochi. I would just classify it as extremely light interest. Sales have been stagnant.”
She and other travel agents say factors ranging from fears about North Korea aggression to the absence of NHL players to concerns about travel logistics have put a big damper on interest.
The news comes after North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests this year and his repeated threats to attack the US and South Korea.