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North Korea opens doors to welcome international tourists

Hamhung beachState officials in North Korea have announced that they hope the country will be attracting two million tourists a year by 2020. The reclusive state is better known for its secrecy and executions of inefficient public officials than beaches and other draws usually associated with tourists.

All that is set to change and North Korea will actively promote beach holidays at locations including Hamhung, Wonsan and Kumgang as well as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the capital city of Pyongyang and Mts Kumgang and Paektu. At present, around 100,000 visitors a year travel to North Korea. The bulk of these are from neighbouring China.

North Korea says it hopes to be attracting one million tourists a year by 2017 and to double the amount three years later. Recently, president Kim Jong-un was quoted by national media as saying that tourism offered high returns for minimum investment and his country would be concentrating on marketing itself as an attractive holiday destination. 

Kim Jong-un noted that westerners had misconceptions about North Korea and only read in the press about US-imposed sanctions for various reasons. He finished off by saying that the socialist fairyland offered a mystique that would charm with the new open-door policy.

Last month, budget package-holiday operator Young Pioneer Tours added North Korean beach vacations to its portfolio. Company CEO Gareth Johnson stated that North Korean sojourns tended towards the educational and could be heavy going for all but serious culture vultures. He finished off by saying the country’s gorgeous sands provided a beach holiday with a difference.

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