With the start of the PyeongChang 2018 XXIII Winter Olympics February 9 – 25th we are right around the corner for this large-scale event putting South Korea in the international spotlight. Games will be held at multiple venues from the Alpensia Sliding Center, Jeongseon Alpine Center, Gangneung Ice Arena, Kwangdong Hockey Center to the Yongpyong Alpine Center. Numerous sponsors of the games from multi-national corporations will be participating sending staff from the US to South Korea to be on-the-ground for the better part of the games.
Here are some items for consideration in your planning for travel to the region:
- North Korea and its propensity for sporadic, unusual behavior are of the most serious concern for these games from a safety & security posture. What North Korea will do is unknown but they have proven themselves in their desire to be a disruptor on a large scale.
- With the location of the games largely on the eastern side of the peninsula, bear in mind via automobile this is a standard 4-hour drive one-way from Seoul/Incheon airport. If there is inclement weather, it could easily be much longer. Alternatively, South Korea has built a high-speed rail as an option as well, which initial indications it will be about a 3.5-hour trip if this route is chosen instead although it is new and has yet to really be tested.
- A number of the multi-national corporations are planning on housing their traveling staff overnight in Seoul for up to 2 nights prior to making the travel to the eastern peninsula. With the long-haul flight and time difference doing so allows the traveler to refresh before the additional half-day+ trip ahead of them.
- Those who will seek a luxury SUV please understand that these are in short supply and high demand. South Korea doesn’t tend to import lots of vehicles, but Range Rovers and Cadillac Escalade’s are an available option, although again in limited supply.
- English fluency of dedicated drivers is rudimentary. They can manage required tasks ok, but one can’t really have an in-depth conversation with them. The Bilingual Executive Protection Agent (Close Protection Officer or CPO) is better, although these personnel too – like the luxury SUVs – are in short supply.
- Any CPO agent your team may desire to accompany your principal to the games will additionally need a ticket purchased for their entrance to the games as well, just like any other attendee.
- For any engagement related to the games, PRS’s vendor partner in-country does require a 30% deposit up-front which is non-refundable. We will need to work hard to secure proper resources so is best to start this planning early while the best personnel are still available.