NORTH KOREA’S tourism agency has introduced a slew of activities including surfing and rice-planting to woo holiday-makers.
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”.
Other packages include mountaineering tours, sports tours, taekwondo tours, and a “special traffic fan” tour where visitors will be brought to an open-air exhibition in the Three-Revolution Exhibition House where “indigenous” trucks, tractors and locomotives are displayed. The steam train tour is said to be particularly popular.
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”.
In large part, the site portrays itself as a regular tourist destination despite tough sanctions imposed by the United States, Japan, and the European Union over its weapons program.
On top of that, the Republic has recently come under scrutiny following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American tourist who was sentenced to hard labor in prison for stealing a propaganda banner from a hotel room. He fell into a coma and was sent home, but died several days later.
Prior to his death, the US warned its citizens against visiting North Korea due to increased tension between the two nations.
In May, Republican and Democratic US congressmen introduced a bill that would ban Americans from traveling to North Korea as tourists and require them to obtain special permission for other types of visits.
“With increased tensions in North Korea, the danger Americans will be detained for political reasons is greater than ever,” the congressmen said in a statement.