Pyeongchang 2018 eager to benefit from Asian three-peat
Beijing`s winning 2022 winter Olympics bid was welcomed by organisers of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, who now look to benefit from Asia`s Olympics treble.
The Chinese capital was awarded the Games on Friday, joining Pyeongchang and Tokyo 2020 as Olympic hosts, the first time Asia has three consecutive Games.
"We are expecting to work together with Beijing," Pyeongchang Games chief Cho Yang-ho told a small group of reporters on Saturday. "Our goal is to expand winter sports across Asian countries with Pyeongchang and Beijing."
Cho said the election of Beijing was increasing potential benefits for Pyeongchang, with an estimated 300 million Chinese to be exposed to winter sports.
"There are already Chinese tourists coming to Pyeongchang with charter flights from 10 different cities of China. More flights will be added," Cho said.
"We have been talking to the (Beijing) bid team since day one. Once they form an organising committee we will talk to them more seriously."
Cho, who is the chairman of Korean Air and led Pyeongchang`s successful bid in 2011, took over the organisation of the Games exactly a year ago after initial delays.
Concerns about costs and construction setbacks had also raised speculation late last year that some of the events might have to be moved away from Pyeongchang, perhaps even to Japan.
But preparations are now in full swing, with construction on venues coming along and major South Korean companies such as Samsung, Korean Air and LG agreeing to pour in funds to support the Games.
South Korea`s two biggest automakers, Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, also signed on as sponsors this week, providing vehicles and pumping in cash to help with the running of the multi-sports event.
Earlier On Saturday, Cho received a thumbs-up from the IOC after a briefing on progress, including the announcement that a key high-speed train line linking Seoul and Pyeongchang would be completed by July 2017, six months ahead of the Games.
"After one year we made a lot of achievements. All the venues are under construction and about 25 percent completed," Cho said.
He said organisers were also speeding up sponsorship deals, which had been lagging behind, with Pyeongchang having reached 49 percent of its $850 million overall target.
"We expect another $200 million (in deals) in the second half of this year and hope to have 75 percent of the overall target by then."