Why should you quit everything and go to North Korea
What is the role of tourism in the economy of the DPRK?
Kim Sung-hoon: Today, every country encourages the development of tourism, including the DPRK. Our state is not large, but we have something to attract tourists – historical sights, beautiful nature and others. We have all the necessary resources for the development of tourism.
As for concrete figures, according to our data, more than 100 thousand foreign visitors visit the DPRK every year. Sometimes their number reaches 200 thousand, however, it is still not so much, so today it is impossible to call the contribution of tourism to the economy of the DPRK significant.
Where do most tourists come from?
Kim Sung-Hoon: Considering the DPRK’s territorial location, Chinese citizens predominate among travelers. Russian tourists are still few – only a few hundred people a year.
However, we have long and closely interact with the Russian Federation. In 1954, a trade agreement was concluded with Intourist; moreover, during the times of the Soviet Union many Soviet tourists came to the DPRK. In the 1990s, Russians did not visit our country, and since the 2000s, the tourist flow of Russian tourists has been growing every year.
Ryugyon Hotel is considered one of the symbols of Pyongyang
How do you think Russian tourists are different? Do they have any special wishes or requirements?
Kim Yong Il: Unlike Westerners, Russians already have a certain understanding of North Korea. However, they have no special requirements.
Romön Street with skyscrapers and perfect marking is another symbol of progressive Korea.
How many days will the traveler have time to get acquainted with the traditions and culture of the DPRK?
Kim Sung-hoon: In the DPRK, there are lots of beautiful corners of nature. Since, according to the media of Western countries, our citizens live in poverty and underdevelopment, we try to dispel this image and show travelers the real North Korea. I guess this will take at least 10 days.
To become a regulator in the DPRK you need to go through a long training, only the best female students are allowed onto the streets
How much money is needed to feel comfortable in North Korea?
Kim Yong Il: An eight-day tour to the DPRK will cost at least 500 euros per person. The cost of the permit includes accommodation in four- and five-star hotels with full board. All vacationers say that they feed us really well. Some even joke that the worst in traveling is huge portions.
In addition, the cost of the tour includes all trips around the country. A Russian-speaking guide is attached to each group arriving in the DPRK. It is worth noting an extensive program of our excursions. For example, having arrived in our country for eight days, a tourist will visit at least 30 sites. And the price of tickets is also included in the tour price.
Today, the cost of trips to the DPRK for Russian citizens is cheaper than for travelers from Western countries.
True, the cost of the tour is indicated without air travel, and you may have to pay about the same for the air tickets as for the entire tour.
That is, you need money only for souvenirs?
Kim Yong Il: No, not only. If desired, tourists can dine at more expensive national restaurants than the program provides, as well as take advantage of additional services – for example, visit the sauna.
In the Pyongyang metro, tourists are driven only by certain stations.
Do you think that you definitely need to see in the DPRK?
Kim Sen Hoon: It is imperative to visit the Palace of the Sun – Comrade Kim Jong Il and Comrade Kim Il Sung, the leaders who laid the foundation of a nuclear power rest there. I also recommend visiting the Victory Museum in the Great Patriotic War (meaning the conflict between South and North Korea in the 1950s) and the Friendship Exhibition on Mount Myohyan (where Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung’s gifts from other governments are kept). Having visited the city of Kaesong and Mount Kumgan, you can learn more about divided Korea. Also in our country, lovers of beach holidays and ski resorts will find their favorite pastime. Last I recommend to go to the complex Masikren, who ordered to build our supreme leader, Comrade Kim Jong-un.
In addition, in the DPRK there are many attractions. While still in Pyongyang, I took foreign guests to the “Munsu” water park, which was ordered to be built by our supreme leader, Comrade Kim Jong Un. Everyone who visited this water park, was surprised to say that it surpasses Western counterparts.
You told about a large number of attractions, but what about the infrastructure? Is it convenient to drive up to all tourist sites, are they far away from hotels, and so on?
Kim Yong Il: From the first days of the creation of the DPRK, our government put a lot of effort into developing tourism. By the 1980s, they completed the construction of major tourist infrastructure facilities.