Dec 20, 2018

Americans Avoiding 2018 Winter Olympics Due to Travel Cost and Safety Concerns Over North Korea

Given the Opportunity, Over 70% of Americans Would Not Want to Attend Upcoming Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea


RICHMOND, VA, FEBRUARY 6, 2018 — Only 4.8 percent of Americans are attending the upcoming Winter Olympics, and an overwhelming 74.4 percent of respondents said, if given the opportunity, they would not be interested in traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Olympics.

According to a new survey* conducted by Allianz Global Assistance, a leading travel insurance provider, over 40 percent (41.4 percent) of Americans say the location of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea negatively impacts their interest in traveling to the games. Travel cost (29.5 percent) and safety/health concerns (18.3 percent) were the factors that influenced interest in traveling to the Winter Olympics the most, followed by lack of interest in sports (11.3 percent), lack of desire to travel (8.3 percent), large crowds (5.3 percent) and difficulty in getting tickets to the events (3.2 percent).

More than 30 percent (32.6 percent) do not believe that North Korea should be permitted to participate in this year’s game, and 6.6 percent are less interested in going to the Olympics because of North Korea’s participation.

The majority of Americans (62.9 percent) responded that nothing can be done to make them feel more comfortable in traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Other respondents could be made more comfortable by proof of increased security measures (13.8 percent) and a travel insurance policy (2.4 percent)

“It’s an increasingly unpredictable world, and attending a major event such as the Winter Olympics, especially considering Pyeongchang’s proximity to North Korea, can be alarming for travelers,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Travelers may not know that the right travel insurance policy can help give them peace of mind during their trip, as well as assist if things do go wrong. We’ve also created a PyeongChang Games Reference Guide for our Travel Assistance team so that we can help our customers who may be attending the games.  Our staff is now equipped with information that includes everything from Olympic Park maps and recommended doctor’s offices to cultural do’s and don’ts.”

The games (36.7 percent) themselves intrigue Americans the most, followed by the athletes (10.5 percent) and the opening ceremony (5.6 percent). With only 4.9 percent of Americans interested in the host city, and 5.2 percent of people preferring to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in person, it follows that television is still the most popular method of keeping up with the Olympics, with 59.6 percent of people preferring to watch the games on television, followed by online media (9.5 percent), social media (9.3 percent), newspaper/print media (7.8 percent), streaming the broadcast live online (6.8 percent) and the least popular method, on the radio (1.9 percent).

When asked how often they plan to watch or keep up with the 2018 Winter Olympics, 28.5 percent responded when they have time, 26.5 percent will not be keeping up with the Olympics, 17.4 percent will when a sport they like is on, 11.4 percent will keep up with the games every day after work, 9.3 percent will when bored and 6.9 percent will watch every day, during the day.

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance** through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, other travel suppliers and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit:

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*Methodology 1: This 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from January 24, 2018 – January 26, 2018, receiving 1,746 responses. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings are listed below:

1. Are you attending the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea?

  •  95.2% – No
  •  4.8% – Yes

2. If given the opportunity, would you be interested in traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  •  74.4% – No
  •  25.6% – Yes

3. Does the location (Pyeongchang, South Korea) of the 2018 Winter Olympics Games hinder your interest in traveling to the games?

  •  58.9% - No
  •  41.4% - Yes

4. What factor hinders your interest the most in traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Winter Olympics?

  •  29.5% – Travel Cost
  •  24% - None of these
  •  18.3% - Safety/health concerns
  •  11.3% - lack of interest in sports
  •  8.3% - lack of desire to travel
  •  5.3% - large crowds
  •  3.2% - Difficulty in getting tickets to the events

5. Do you think North Korea should be able to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  •  36.1% - Yes
  •  32.6% - No
  •  31.3% - I prefer not to say

6. Did the decision to allow North Korea to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics affect your interest in going to the games in South Korea?

  •  49.1% - No, I didn’t have any interest in going
  •  22.4% - I prefer not to say
  •  19.9% - No, I’m still equally interested in going
  •  6.6% - Yes, I’m less interested in going
  •  1.9% - Yes, I’m more interested in going

7. What interests you most about the 2018 Winter Olympic Games?

  •  40.6% - I am not the least bit interested
  •  36.7% - The games
  •  10.5% - The athletes
  •  5.6% - The opening ceremony
  •  4.9% - The destination/host city
  •  1.8% - The parties

8. How would you prefer to follow the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  •  59.6% - On television
  •  9.5% - Online media
  •  9.3% - Social media
  •  7.8% - Newspaper/print media
  •  6.8% - Streaming the broadcast live online
  •  5.2% - In person
  •  1.9% - Radio

9. How often do you plan on watching/keeping up with the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  •  28.5% - When I have time
  •  26.5% - I will not be keeping up with the Olympics
  •  17.4% - When a sport I like is on
  •  11.4% - Every day, after work
  •  9.3% - When I am bored
  •  6.9% - Every day, during the day

10. What could be done to make you feel more comfortable in traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  •  62.9% - None of these
  •  20.8% - I am comfortable traveling to South Korea
  •  13.8% - Proof of increased security measures
  •  2.4% - A travel insurance policy

Allianz Global Assistance USA

Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company. We provide insurance to 35 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies.

To learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance, please visit or Like us on Facebook at

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