South Korea had previously bid to host the 2010 games - won by Vancouver in Canada; and the 2014 Games, won by Sochi in Russia - narrowly losing in each case.
Unusually the South Korean region won easilly in the first round of voting securing two thirds of the 95 votes available in a secret ballot. It got 63 votes, with Germany's Munich second placed with 25 and Annecy in France receiving seven.
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be the first outside Europe or North America for 20 years when they are staged in 2018, the last games being staged in Nagano in 1998. The only other Games in Asia were also staged in Japan in 1972.
Although there have been concerns expressed that South Korea lacks mountains big enough to stage Alpine events requiring big verticals, the IOC were clearly satisfied by the terrain suggested.
Winter sports have been rapidly growing in popularity in South Korea over the past two decades and the country now has more than a dozen ski areas and a large indoor snow centre.