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Countdown to PyeongChang 2018 Olympics: 230 days to opening

Countdown to PyeongChang 2018 Olympics: 230 days to opening
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eTurboNews -

There is less than one year to go until the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. Officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, this major international multi-sport event is scheduled to take place from February 9-25, 2018, in Gangwon-do province in the county of PyeongChang, South Korea.

Soon after the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics conclude on February 25, the Winter Paralympic Games will begin, running from March 9-18, 2018. These Games will be held at the same venues in PyeongChang. The events will include over 45 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) with 1,500 athletes and official participating in 6 sports and disciplines in 80 events. Head-to-head snowboard cross for men and women as well as snowboard banked slalom also for men and women are new sports that will debut during the event. The PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee launched “Actualizing the Dream,” a project aimed at promoting Paralympic winter sports, to raise awareness of Para sport and its athletes, and secure the social inclusion of people with an impairment.

There are over 95 National Olympic Committees participating in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, with approximately 6,500 athletes and officials in 7 sports and 15 disciplines. This will be the biggest Olympic Winter games to date with 102 events, and it will showcase new sports and disciplines, including alpine skiing nation team event, snowboard big air (men & women), speed skating mass start (men & women), and mixed doubles curling.

The success of this Olympic event will enhance the prestige of South Korea as a global tourism destination and help it join the ranks of leading tourist destinations. Organizers are anticipating a robust connection with tourists from the United States and Canada, which are strong winter sports nations. Efforts are being stepped up to develop seasonal content focusing on hallyu (Korean wave), hansik (Korean food), festivals, and nature, in order to establish a tourism brand representing PyeongChang as a four-season destination. During the event, there will also be more convenient modes of transportation, discounts on admission fees to tourist attractions, and the hosting of special events. In an effort to increase the number of visitors, Koreans, and foreigners alike, organizers are encouraging local hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers to show tourists good hospitality.

Many areas of the Gangwon province are mountainous, but the improved network of railroads and roads has put an end to such inconvenience. The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will help Gangwon-do – including PyeongChang, Gangneung and Jeongseon – to make a great leap forward as a world-class tourist destination. The time taken to travel from Incheon International Airport to Gangneung will be shortened to less than 2 hours, with a high-speed railway, expressways, improved road networks, and the completion of the 2nd Yeongdong Express Highways – all good reasons for optimism about attracting many more visitors from Europe and the Americas.

The host city of the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games offers pure air and beautiful scenery of PyeongChang. Here, visitors can see fluffy sheep leisurely grazing in vast pastures beneath a deep blue sky, and in the fall, the fields are filled with the clean white color of buckwheat flowers, the backdrop of the Hyoseok Cultural Festival. Visitors have a pick of the many ski resorts, some of the best in the nation, and winter festivals in the area. The city has so much to offer – here are just a few places to visit:

Alpensia Resort

Alpensia Resort is a tourism complex located in Daegwallyeong. The resort is divided into a winter sports area and a golf village and resort area. The resort features hotels and condominiums, as well as Alpensia Ocean 700, a year-round indoor water park; a variety of ski slopes; and a Ski Jump Tower. The ski jump tower will be used for the ski jumping competition of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and it is temporarily opened to the public where visitors can take a monorail up to this great vantage point to view the beautiful scenery. Alpensia Resort will be a vital venue for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, hosting sporting events such as biathlon and cross-country skiing in addition to ski jumping.

Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm

Often described as the “Alps of Korea,” Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm is where visitors can appreciate and enjoy the picturesque landscape of wide grass fields along with the East Sea against the clear blue skies. Herds of white sheep roam on the spacious green plains and visitors can also experience feeding the sheep with dry grass provided by the farm. It is especially known among photographers for the perfect amount of snow which covers the fields like a blanket, and visitors can view the sheep and take pictures from all angles as they stroll along the path.

Herbnara Farm

This farm is a beautiful recreation area filled with a natural ambiance and herb fragrances. In the winter, the farm brings a stunning view of a snow-covered landscape. There are about 100 types of herbs, and several themed gardens can be found including the Palette Garden, Children’s’ Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and more. Visitors can also drop by the restaurant and bakery which serve dishes and drinks made of herbs cultivated on the farm.

Jeonggangwon

The Korea Traditional Food Culture Experience Center known as Jeonggangwon was established in order to preserve, research, distribute, and promote the values and merits of traditional Korean food culture to the world. Various activities are held in hanok-style buildings including education rooms and a food museum, as well as a hanbok experience for anyone who wants to learn more and take part in various aspects of the traditional Korean food and culture. A restaurant that offers traditional hanjeongsik (Korean table d’hôte) is also available.

Woljeongsa Temple

Established during the Silla Kingdom (57 BC-AD 935), Woljeongsa Temple boasts a history of over 1,000 years, making it a proud cultural site in PyeongChang county. Though many cultural assets were destroyed during the Korean War and then later reconstructed, visitors can still sense the strong coexistence of Odaesan Mountain’s nature with Woljeongsa Temple’s dignity and spirit. From the entrance of Woljeongsa Temple, a separate road leads off to a path through a dense fir tree forest. Not only magnificent in appearance, walking through this pathway filled with fir trees can be equally relaxing and refreshing to one’s mind, making it a popular destination among the locals.

PyeongChang Trout Festival

Every winter, the PyeongChang Trout Festival opens with the theme of “Winter Story of Snow, Ice, and Trout.” The festival offers a variety of fun winter activities including the ever-popular ice fishing and sledding experiences. During the coldest days of winter, the frozen river is dotted with people sitting on small chairs and gazing down through holes in the ice, anxiously waiting for the first bite of the trout swimming just below their feet. And if fishing doesn’t catch your fancy, spend your time enjoying the many exciting winter activities. From the river come peals of laughter from everyone, both young and young-at-heart, echoing throughout the festival grounds. The completely frozen river provides the perfect location for traditional sledding and modern ice carts and bicycles.

New Horizons

The vision of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics is “New Horizons,” which means to open up a new horizon in South Korea and Asia by connecting the athletes and spectator with the Games. The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) team, together with key country organizations such as the Korean Tourism Board, are working hard to position the country as one of the major winter sports destinations.

The Olympic movement is all about promoting world peace through sports by transcending any political obstacles and differences, and organizers are confident that the PyeongChang Winter Olympics will act as a stepping-stone in putting aside any differences among nations and thus uphold the Olympic spirit. South Korea plans to implement visa relaxation for Southeast Asian tourists who want to visit Korea, which will also help to diversify foreign tourist attraction efforts.

For more information, please visit: nowpyeongchang.com

PHOTO: Soohorang, the mascot of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games

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