Tours to iso­lated na­tion have been stopped, say travel agen­cies

New Straits Times - - News / Story Of The Day - FARHANA SYED NOKMAN AND BEATRICE NITA JAY KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Mard­hiah Khu­sairi

TRAVEL agen­cies have con­firmed that all tours to North Korea have been stopped and no Malaysian tourists are stranded there.

All 12 travel agen­cies listed un­der the North Korea Re­gional Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice for South­east Asia and In­dia said no tour had been or­gan­ised due to luke­warm re­sponse from Malaysians.

A spokesman for Un­for­get­table Tour, a travel agency, said it had not or­gan­ised any tour to North Korea this year.

An­other tour agency said tours to North Korea had stopped since the mur­der of Kim Jongnam on Feb 13.

“We have de­cided to stop fu­ture tours there for safety rea­sons,” the spokesman told the

New Straits Times yes­ter­day. Malaysian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tours and Travel Agents (Matta) said it rarely pro­moted North Korea be­cause of the un­sta­ble sit­u­a­tion there.

“Safety of tourists is our pri­or­ity,” said a Matta spokesman, adding that North Korea was not a favourable travel des­ti­na­tion for Malaysians as there was no di­rect flight to the coun­try.

A South­east Asia travel rep­re­sen­ta­tive said there was no Malaysian tourist in North Korea.

“April is the peak sea­son in North Korea, but there’s no Malaysian tourist there.

“How­ever, we are not aware if there’s any group plan­ning to go there through other agen­cies.”

North Korea yes­ter­day barred Malaysians from leav­ing.

There are 11 Malaysians in North Korea; three of­fi­cers work­ing with the Malaysian Em­bassy, six of their fam­ily mem­bers and two vol­un­teers with the United Na­tions World Food Pro­gramme.

In re­sponse to Py­ongyang’s or­der, Pu­tra­jaya then barred North Kore­ans from leav­ing Malaysia.

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