The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called on organisers of the 2018 winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea to enhance promotion and ticket sales efforts in order to help create a lasting legacy in the country.
Speaking at this week’s IOC Session in Lima, Peru, Gunilla Lindberg, coordination commission chief at the IOC, expressed her concerns at the lack of a post-Games legacy plans for some of the venues that will be used at next year’s Olympics.
With just five months to go until the Games, Lindberg has urged the Pyeongchang 2018 organising team to establish plans for facilities in order to avoid creating “white elephants”.
“Today there are no legacy plans ready for the sliding centre, the ice oval and one of the hockey venues,” Lindberg said, according to the Reuters news agency. “We don’t want white elephants left behind."
Pyeongchang 2018 president Lee Hee-beom also spoke at the Session, saying the organising committee has begun to enforce a back-up plan to work with 17 local governments and schools to boost ticket sales.
To date, less than 10 per cent of the 750,000 tickets available to Korean citizens have been sold and Lee said addressing sales is a “priority” agenda, with plans in place to achieve “full stadia”.
Lee said: “Tickets is one of the priority agendas. When we began ticket sales in February until April 23 we found that (demand) for short track, figure skating and ice hockey – high-demand games – was three, four times above.
“Low-demand competitions – some snow venues, cross-country and Paralympic Games – there demand was less than 10, 20 per cent.”
An unnamed senior winter sports official also told Reuters that ongoing concerns over the crisis in neighbouring North Korea is impacting ticket sales.
The official said: “There was never going to be a big number of visitors to Pyeongchang but with the North Korea situation, some who had planned to go might now stay away.”