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I would just classify it as extremely light interest. Sales have been stagnant." She and other travel agents say factors ranging from fears about North Korea aggression to the absence of NHL players to concerns about travel logistics have put a big damper on interest. Stengele said North Korea is a big factor, as global tensions are running high over bellicose threats exchanged by President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim has conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests this year, as well as a test of its most powerful nuclear weapon to date. Both leaders have threatened to annihilate the others' country if they order a first strike. In addition, North Korea has a massive military and huge arsenal of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and the possibility of a hostile incident during the Olympics is hanging in the air here. Some seasoned Olympic travelers are also balking about flying into this capital city and then having to transfer to event sites located more than 140 miles away. "They're burning an extra night in a hotel room in Seoul," Stengele said. "That in itself has had a lot of pushback from our regular customers who are used to landing and hitting the ground running." She also said she's heard concerns about whether travel insurance will cover cancellations in the event of a disruption by North Korea, and the lack of accommodation options such as name-brand international hotel chains at the venue locations. A new high-speed rail line, set to open by the end of the year, will travel directly from Incheon Airport to Gangneung, the hub city for ice sports, in a little over two hours. From downtown Seoul to Pyeongchang, where the snow sports and opening and closing ceremonies will be held, the travel time is about an hour and a half.
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