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Seafood is a staple in Gangwon-do province, where the Games are taking place.

Mike Pomranz
February 12, 2018

If you booked a trip to Pyeongchang, South Korea, to attend the Winter Olympics, you’d probably expect the influx of visitors to drive up prices on things like flights and hotels, maybe even the cost of eating out – but prices at local fish markets? Apparently, the 2018 Winter Games are leading to a premium on the cost of seafood even at the local retail level. But as residents of a country that loves its seafood, Koreans are reportedly just rolling with the punches.

South Korea is only slightly bigger than Indiana and, seeing as it’s located on the southern end of the Korean Peninsula, it’s surrounded by water on three sides. Access to the sea is plentiful, and accordingly, seafood is a staple of Korean cuisine. But according to Annie Sabo of NBC’s Tampa affiliate WFLA, prices in The Ocean District of Pyeongchang have skyrocketed since the start of the Olympics. “It’s not actually a little bit. It is much,” said a local resident by the name of Hyun who was explaining the market to her. However, he said people are still willing to shell out. “We don’t have any choice,” he added.

Seafood is especially important in the coastal areas of Gangwon-do, the province where Pyeongchang is located, with tourists often stopping by places like the large fish market at Jumunjin Port and seeking out traditional dishes like Haemultang – a spicy soup made with loads of fresh seafood. Clearly, the increased tourism from the games could potentially drive up fresh seafood prices – items that already can have pretty volatile pricing based on availability. However, it is interesting to think that these fluctuations are even hitting local markets. Then again, since Sabo was visiting the market for the Olympics, maybe that’s just what they told her. Hey, you live by the influx, you die by the influx.