NK turning to sports for foreign currency
North Korea has drawn up measures to acquire foreign currencies amid harsher sanctions imposed by the international community for its nuclear provocations.
According to DPR Korea Tour, the country’s National Tourism Administration’s website, the North will hold a marathon in autumn for the first time. The marathon and shorter events will take place in Pyongyang, Oct. 29.
The marathon is part of the reclusive country’s efforts to earn hard currency: North Korea has released other tour packages with various themes, including surfing, biking and skiing.
The website said: “Unlike the 28th Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, which was held in the spring this year with the participation of numerous professional and amateur marathoners, the forthcoming autumn marathon is arranged for the first time for amateurs, thus drawing great interest from enthusiasts at home and abroad.”
About 1,100 runners from 50 countries participated in the Mangyongdae Marathon on April 9, North Korean media reported.
Participants in the autumn event will compete in the marathon, half marathon, 10-kilometer and five-kilometer races, running along the major streets of Pyongyang, according to the DPR Korea Tour.
Travel agencies specializing in North Korea tours, including Uri Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, released marathon-themed packages a few months ago. Uri Tours’ eight-day program cost $2,650.
Besides such sports events, North Korea is trying to draw foreign investment.
A North Korean travel agency specializing in Mount Geumgang posted an investment guide on its website on Monday introducing plans to build a 12-story hotel with 250 rooms in Kumgang County, Kangwon Province.
The guide stated that either a joint venture or a single foreign company would be welcomed, and the investor would have the right to build the hotel within two years and operate it for 30. The agency said it was in the initial stages of examining the investment scale and profitability.
Earlier last month after the North’s sixth nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to ban exports of North Korean textiles and restrict the use of North Korean workers overseas, cutting key sources of foreign currency revenue for the Kim Jong-un regime.