Anne Majumdar

In case you were sleeping under a rock this weekend, the 2018 Winter Olympics officially kicked off on the slopes of Pyeongchang in South Korea.

Beyond the opening ceremony’s welcome fireworks and human operated puppet tiger, there was plenty to excite viewers.

Puppet Tiger PyeongChang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

Image credit: Pyeongchang18.com

Records were broken as, in a futuristic and pre-recorded opening ceremony, viewers at home watched 1218 drones launch into the sky creating a light show as they zoomed over the stadium.

Image credit: USAtoday.com

Image credit: USAtoday.com

There was a historic handshake between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Image credit: News.com.au

Image credit: News.com.au

Aussie snowboarder Scotty James led out the Australian delegation who looked snuggly in their silver parkas and green trousers.

Image credit: Ausport.gov.au

Image credit: Ausport.gov.au

Crowd pleaser Pita Taufatofua, the flag bearer from Tonga, braved freezing temperatures to venture out into the arena topless (and rather well-oiled) to recreate his Rio Olympics buzz.

Pita Tonga Winter olympics

Then there was the kicking out of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators who suggested their real-life counterparts should make peace with each other.

Image credit: Hindustan Times

Image credit: Hindustan Times

The event is expected to have an enormous impact on tourism to Pyeongchang (pronounced “Pee-yon-chong”) and South Korea overall – both short-term and long-term.

Around 390,000 foreigners and 2.2 million locals are expected to visit the events venues over its duration. And then there are the millions of viewers that will tune into the event from around the world.

Woljeongsa Temple in Pyeongchang

Woljeongsa Temple in Pyeongchang

As a result, the event is the perfect opportunity to showcase PyeongChang’s winter beauty and attractions including snow sports will see interest in travel to the destination grow. Popular sights include the Odaesan National Park and its Buddhist temples including Woljeongsa Temple.

Lee Hee-beom, the Chief of the country’s Olympic committee Lee Hee-beom forecast the games’ economic impact of hosting would top 32 trillion won (US$28.2 billion) over the next decade.

In January,  it was announced that international tourists visiting Korea for the event were permitted to request a 30-day extension to their maximum 90 day visit, increasing the maximum length of stay up to 120 days.

 

 

Do you like the look of Pyeongchang from what you’ve seen so far?