IPC Stresses Increased PyeongChang Paralympic Awareness

(ATR) The IPC tells ATR ticket sales and Paralympic engagement will be high on the agenda at upcoming project review.

(ATR) The International Paralympic Committee is ready to double down on efforts to increase awareness of next March’s PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics.

A spokesperson for the IPC tells Around the Rings not enough is being done by local organizers to increase fan engagement and fuel ticket sales which are now at just 4.2 percent, according to the Korea Herald.

"The IPC has been repeatedly highlighting to the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee for a long period of time now the real need for them to increase engagement and awareness of next March’s Paralympic Winter Games," says IPC spokesperson Craig Spence.

The IPC will conduct its final project review with new IPC president Andrew Parsons and his predecessor Philip Craven from Oct. 15-18. Spence says increasing awareness will be one of the top priorities of the meeting with five months remaining until the Games.

"Next week we will be holding our final Project Review with the Organizing Committee ahead of the Games and the subject of ticket sales and engagement will certainly be high on the agenda," Spence tells ATR.

The IPC will also work with Korean leaders to facilitate ticket sales moving forward. According to PyeongChang 2018 organizers, Parsons will meet with South Korean President Jae In Moon on Oct. 18.

"Whilst in Korea we are also meeting with members of the national and local government to see what support they can offer in engaging the public in these Games," Spence says. "We are also working with the Organizing Committee on a group sales program which should increase the number of ticket sales significantly."

Many have pointed to the tensions in the region between North and South Korea as a reason for the low level of ticket sales. As of last week, ticket sales for Olympic events were at 30 percent of the 1.07 million available.

Despite the slow start, organizers expect a rash of ticket sales in the last two months before the Games as is typically seen with Olympic events.

"Many Koreans tend to put off getting tickets until the last minute, and we believe that offline sales will be considerable," said a committee official, echoing the eerily similar rhetoric of their Rio de Janeiro predecessors.

Despite a decades-long standoff with North and South Korea, it seems a North Korean delegation is preparing to attend the Paralympic Games in the South. South Korean foreign minister Kyung Wha Kang said North Korea submitted a participation application to the IPC in May 2017 for the PyeongChang Paralympics, according to Yonhap News.

North Korean athletes would still need to qualify for their respective events. Two North Korean figure skaters recently qualified for the PyeongChang Olympics, easing some concerns that tensions will persist during the Games.

The IPC hopes fears over persistent tensions will not keep athletes and spectators from participating in the Games next February and March.

"PyeongChang 2018 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Koreans to see the world’s best winter Para athletes in action and we sincerely hope they do not miss out on what promises to be great Games," Spence says.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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