North Korea to welcome two million tourists

Profile picture of
Gapyear.com

View Profile All Posts
2nd Jun 2015
Written by: Will Jones

Secretive state to open its doors to more international visitors by 2020

It might not be completely unfair to suggest North Korea suffers from a bit of an image problem.

The regime’s startling lack of enthusiasm for human rights is well documented. Tales of execution by preposterously violent means are aplenty. The general attitude towards pretty much everyone and thing is dementedly paranoiac, to put it politely.

Occasionally a defector will emerge victorious against ridiculously unfavourable odds and reconfirm to the outside world that life in the world’s most secretive state is indeed quite dreadful.

Still, the tourism board endures, and has been tasked (if there is a god, please help them) with enticing two million annual visitors in the next five years to the self-proclaimed ‘socialist fairyland’ – an aptly surreal description, though it could be argued ‘nightmare’ would have been a better word choice.

Discounting the recently-lifted four month ban on all international visitors (to protect against the Ebola virus) North Korea currently accepts 100,000 tourists per year. In keeping with the general philosophy of the leadership, tours are rigorously regimented, and independent movement is unthinkable, at least for those not aiming for a literal holiday of a lifetime.

Kim Jong-un, himself no stranger to looking at things, confirmed recently that he has seen an opportunity with drawing open the curtain on his family’s hideous creation. Speaking in Pyongyang, he said: “Tourism can produce a lot of profit relative to the investment required, so that’s why our country is putting priority on it.

“Many people in foreign countries think in a wrong way about our country [but] we are developing our economy. So I think many people are curious about our country.”

Whether or not to visit dictatorships in general is controversial. Some argue that the money from tourism simply goes straight into the pockets of the regime, creating an ever wider disparity with the disenfranchised population at large. Others argue that while this may be the case, tourism brings awareness, and the more international scrutiny there is, the more likely the regime will feel the pressure to reform.

The UK Foreign Office does not currently advise against travel to North Korea.

Search

Legendary New Zealand Tour

from £2005

21 days

New Zealand

From Auckland, we make our way down the beautiful and volcanic North Island to the capital, Wellington, before catching a...

Adventure, Leadership and Outdoor Certifications

from £7500

65 days

Costa Rica, Panama

Discover your strengths, goals, and leadership style as you earn seven international certifications while hiking, rafting, diving, and rappelling your...

Ski and Snowboard Instructor in Switzerland

from £4579

120 - 150 days

Switzerland

EA Ski and Snowboard Training are internship specialists providing people from all over the world the chance to work as...

International Arts Internship In Korea

from £1125

60 days

South Korea

South Korea is a destination that is bursting with talented designers, creators, and artists that have found a country in...

Entrepreneurship in New York

from £6250

56 - 180 days

United States of America

Learn from successful entrepreneurs in one of the world’s most impressive cities. Launch your career while discovering New York City.

Coach and Play Sport in Ghana

from £250

7 - 84 days

Ghana

Experience sport at all levels on this unique experience in West Africa and take your understanding of sport to new...

Conserve elephants in Southern Africa

from £980

14 - 84 days

Namibia

Help to conserve some of the rarest elephants in the world, the desert elephant.

Youth Development & Education Internships in Cape Town

from £660

14 - 168 days

South Africa

Cape Town is a fantastic destination for an international internship - a vibrant and bustling city with business, medical and...

International Business Internship In Japan

from £1770

30 days

Japan

One of the most desired places in the world to work, Japan is an ideal destination to pursue an international...

Hotel Front Desk in New Zealand

from £549

182 - 365 days

New Zealand

Accelerate your adrenaline and launch your working holiday in New Zealand. Gap year jobs don’t come much better.

Search

Best of Borneo

from £2287

Connect with your inner animal on a 12-day journey into the unusual and awe-inspiring landscapes of Borneo. Experience the otherworldly...

Masai Mara Walk

from £1175

Travel to Kenya and explore the Masai Mara with an expert guide. Take a guided walk to visit a Maasai...

Discover Lombok

from £578

Immerse yourself in the amazing scenery, rich culture and incredible diversity of Indonesia's tropical Lombok island. Get off the beaten...

Halong Bay Independent Adventure

from £239

A city of Parisian charm and grace with an Asian edge, Hanoi is an enthralling blend of East and West...

Las Vegas to New Orleans

from £930

Explore southern America on a road trip and discover what is surely one of the USA's kookiest corners. Beginning among...

Andes to the Atlantic Experience

From the heights of the Bolivian Andes to the sands of Ipanema, this incredible 25-day journey will introduce you to...

Vietnam & Cambodia Adventure

from £1457

Vibrant Vietnam, charismatic Cambodia, beguiling Bangkok; this journey covers the very best of Indochina. From the graceful elegance of Hanoi,...

Britain & Ireland

from £1583

Join other like-minded explorers as we uncover the best of Britain and Ireland on a trip that will put the...

Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland

from £2819

Strategically positioned along the Silk Route, the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva were famed trading centres for the caravans...

Kilimanjaro – Rongai Route

from £2285

See Africa from a different perspective – from the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro. Approach the striking mountain from the north...

Search
[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]