THERE ARE A LOT of reasons to visit South Korea: the cuisine, mountains and temples to explore, urban centers like Seoul, and now, the Winter Olympics.
Korea really wanted it. This is the third time Pyeongchang, a mountain resort in the center of the country, has been in the running for the event. They first tried for the 2010 games, which went to Vancouver and again for the 2014 games, which will be in Russia.
The honor of hosting the games will go to Korea because of its persistence, but also because event organizers see a chance to expand winter sports into the Asian market, where there is a lot of room for growth. Pyeongchang is already equipped for certain winter sports such as downhill skiing, but it will be expanded and improved with the hope that demand for winter sports increases and other cities will be quick to accomodate.
This honor won’t come cheap. Pyeongchang’s budget for the event could be up to $7.5 million. It’s expensive, but if organizers are right, Pyeongchang and Korea are set to make a lot of money from an untapped market years after the Games are over.
The impetus for holding the games in Korea is about more than money. 19 of the last 21 Winter Olympic Games were held in North America or Europe. Asia, the world’s most populous continent, has only held them twice. Korea playing the host shows that the Olympic Committee is ready to spread the events out, to make them accessible to a more global audience.