Chinese tourism fell short at the Winter Olympics
Tensions between China and South Korea were never going to be good for attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. It sounds like the turnout was far worse than expected.
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea were certainly dramatic, especially because of the diplomatic headway through the games on the Korean Peninsula.
However, from a financial perspective, the games likely didn’t meet the expectations of the South Korean hosts. In particular, Chinese attendance was much lower than was initially hoped. Originally, the South Korean government expected some 200,000 Chinese tourists to attend the game, but one estimate puts the actual attendance of Chinese visitors at only 20,000.
Ticket sales across the board were substantially lower than expected, with only 60 percent sold in the lead up to the games. One estimate puts the total revenue at $2.5 billion against the $13 billion cost. The $10 billion or so losses can’t all be pinned on low attendance by Chinese fans.
Still, low attendance by Chinese fans represents a substantial loss of potential revenue. Chinese independent travel to South Korea is still unhampered by any regulations and Chinese passport holders were offered visa-free access to South Korea for the games.
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