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Foreign visitor reservations to ice festival more than double

All News 16:28 January 06, 2017

HWACHEON, South Korea, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreign visitors' reservations to the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival opening on Jan. 14 has greatly increased from last year, showing the event's recognition as a global winter festivity.

File photo from 2016 Sancheoneo ice festival (Yonhap)

As of Friday, the number of reservations by overseas visitors came to 522 groups totaling 14,589 people. This is more than double the 7,048 people from 247 teams last year.

The ice festival's opening was delayed by a week because of a lack of frozen ice from unusually balmy weather. Foreigners' reservations for the event's original date, Jan. 7-13, had amounted to 2,868 people.

Some 1,100 planned visitors have also booked accommodations, according to event organizers.

For those who cannot cancel or change their flight plans, the Hwacheon County plans to offer lure fishing. Organizers said they began outdoor breeding for the purpose from Friday.

The reservations data only counted those made for group tours through foreign travel agencies. Organizers say the number of actual visitors will be bigger from non-package visitors.

File photo from 2016 Sancheoneo ice festival

The county is preparing operations of shuttle buses to and from Seoul to the festival site, some 118 kilometers east of the capital.

"Accommodations booking at large lodging facilities have been completely filled from the Jan. 14 opening to Feb. 5 closing," a county official said. "We will make the event a festival that foreigners can stay for and enjoy."

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