North Korea lays out welcome mat for Russian tourists

A Russian tourism agency is licensed to operate in North Korea. Source: LMspencer/Shutterstock

FOR the first time, North Korea will issue licensing to a travel agency in Russia, signaling a future travel trend for both countries.

Reuters reported the agency promises its Russian clients “full immersion” in North Korea’s culture and enjoyment that is “safer than an evening walk in London”.

The Russian company licensed by North Korea’s government offers organized tours for groups of up to 10 “to show the travelers the multi-faceted life of this most closed of countries”.

Some of the tours offered by the company include a 15-day “full immersion in the culture of North Korea” tour costing RUB118,090 (US$1,997), which throws in visits to a farm, a mineral water factory and a Buddhist temple.

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Generally, guests to North Korea must be monitored before their trip and must always be accompanied by a tour guide from a sanctioned travel agency. The guides must ensure “adequate behavior of the tourist and guarantee his safety”.

Pictures of strategic military facilities are not allowed while “long talks” with locals are not recommended, Reuters said.

Last month, North Korea’s tourism agency introduced a slew of activities including surfing and rice-planting to woo holiday-makers.

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According to a report by the AFP, the DPR Korea Tour site offers various themed tours including surfing on the Majon Bathing Beach along the east coast. The site also claims “surfing has come into vogue for tourists”.

In the capital Pyongyang, tourists are encouraged to visit “monumental edifices”, “revolutionary sites”, and “educational establishments” including Kim Il Sung’s birthplace in Mangyongdae and Kim Chaek University of Technology.

These packages, according to the site, will allow tourists to experience the “real North Korea”.

Additional reporting by Reuters