Surf’s up! North Korea tourism agency tries to woo for­eign­ers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

North Korea’s tourism agency has launched a web­site of­fer­ing hol­i­day op­tions rang­ing from surf­ing to rice plant­ing, de­spite strong US warnings to avoid travel to a na­tion where sev­eral trips have ended in jail. Six­teen Amer­i­cans have been de­tained in the past decade in North Korea, in­clud­ing 22-year-old stu­dent Otto Warm­bier who was given a long prison term for steal­ing a ho­tel pro­pa­ganda ban­ner. He was sent home in a coma in June but died sev­eral days later.

The “DPR Korea Tour” web­site, run by the North’s Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, de­picts the coun­try-which is sub­ject to stiff sanc­tions over its weapons pro­grams-as just an­other tourist des­ti­na­tion. It in­tro­duces pack­age trips to var­i­ous parts of the coun­try in­clud­ing the cap­i­tal Py­ongyang, and of­fers var­i­ous “theme tours” for travel­ers seek­ing some­thing more un­usual. Vis­i­tors are in­vited to check out beaches on the east coast, in­clud­ing the Ma­jon Bathing Beach, where “surf­ing has come into vogue among tourists” for its fa­vor­able con­di­tions and clean water.

The web­site also pro­vides ba­sic travel in­for­ma­tion like air and train routes and ways to get around Py­ongyang us­ing pub­lic trans­port such as cabs and buses. How­ever, it does not al­low users to book tours di­rectly and does not list the hand­ful of for­eign agen­cies that ar­range trips to the iso­lated state. The coun­try’s of­fi­cial name is the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea. The US State De­part­ment strongly warns Amer­i­cans against trav­el­ling to North Korea, cit­ing “se­ri­ous risk of ar­rest and long-term de­ten­tion”. Canada, Aus­tralia and New Zealand are among other na­tions giv­ing sim­i­lar warnings.—AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.