In recent days, North Korea is seeking diverse ways to attract foreign tourists as tourism is the cash cow sector amid biting global sanctions. However the United States’ latest restriction in banning visa-free entries of people who had previously visited North Korea could deal a blow to Pyongyang’s efforts.
A photo of Chilbosan Mountain posted on a North Korea tourism website operated by the State General Bureau of Tourist Guidance. The site explains the mountain’s scenic beauty is comparable to that of Geumgangsan. It has put out a travel package that includes tours of Mount Chilbosan and Baekdusan. An attractive deal for European tourists. Travelers will fly on chartered flights and the tour begins next month. The website also provides contact information of travel agencies based in the UK and the Netherlands. The promotion is viewed as the regime’s attempt to diversify its tourist base as over 90% of foreigners visiting the North are currently Chinese.
Tourism is not subject to global sanctions, so Pyongyang is trying to foster the industry as an important source of foreign currency earnings. It is especially focused on developing the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area. However a new variable could impede the communist state’s tourism endeavors. On August 5th, the US began implementing restrictions in visa-free entries into America against foreign nationals who previously visited North Korea. Some observers believe the measure is another way to step up pressure on the hermit kingdom.
PROF. PARK WON-GON(HANDONG GLOBAL UNIVERSITY) : „Applying for a U.S. visa and going through the interview process is a time and cost consuming task. So this measure will make people planning to visit N. Korea think about it twice.”
Meanwhile Seoul’s Unification Ministry started issuing documentation showing that South Koreans who visited the regime after March 2011, had made the trips upon government approval. People planning to visit the US can use