Poor ticket sales for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have pushed the South Korean government to allow visa-free travel to tourists from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The open border lasts until next April with visitors required to enter in groups through Yangyang international airport.

The latest sales figures indicated that just 275,964 of the 1.07 million tickets available for the Winter Olympic Games had been sold, while just 457 tickets had been sold for the Paralympics.

The Games are scheduled to take place from February 9 to 25.

South Korea said it will extend its $15 (£12/€13) visa-free waiver for Chinese tourists with electronic passports until the end of 2018.

It has also opened dedicated ticket counters across the host nation in an effort to boost the numbers for the Paralympics. The ticket counters will open in Seoul’s two main airports, Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport, as well as at 19 high-speed railway stations.

International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons told the Inside the Games website that there had been significant movement following his recent strong criticism of poor ticket sales for next year’s Winter Paralympics and he now expects “full venues”.

He said: “There has been some reaction to our comments. The authorities in PyeongChang are now moving with the plans and targeting some specific groups of the population.

“They have now opened ticket boxes both in Pyeongchang and Seoul. So they have reacted. Of course we would have liked this reaction to have been earlier in the process.”

Image: Republic of Korea