Foreigners face headache buying Olympics tickets

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Foreigners face headache buying Olympics tickets

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With the Beijing Olympics just months away, a record number of Koreans is expected to make their way to the neighboring city. [JoongAng Ilbo]

If you want to buy tickets to the Olympics this summer, your options are limited. Sebang Global Travel Service (www.2008beijingolympic.co.kr) is the only travel agency here authorized to sell tickets. Two ballots have already passed, and a third is from April 1 to 30, with the results coming out in June.
But ― and here’s the catch ― only Korean passport holders can apply through Sebang, in accordance with regulations laid down by the International Olympic Committee, according to Kim Doo-il, in charge of ticketing at the Korean Olympic Committee.
If you are a foreigner living in Korea and want to purchase tickets, you have to apply through the Olympic organization or through an authorized agent in your own country, Kim said.
Sebang said this is because only a limited number of tickets are sent to local agencies around the world, and the International Olympic Committee’s intention is to try to make the distribution process as equitable as possible.
An official at the Korean Olympic Committee who wished to remain anonymous said foreigners living in Korea could ask a Korean friend to purchase tickets on their behalf. However, each applicant is limited to four tickets. As a last resort, Sebang suggests buying tickets at the door in Beijing.
You can book trips to Beijing through local travel agencies, but you won’t see “Olympics” in the deal.
Jeong Gi-yoon, a public relations official at Hana Tour, said if “Olympics” appears in his company’s packages, they have to pay a sponsorship fee to the International Olympic Committee.


By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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