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26 Sep. 2023

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Tourism in the DPRK: North Korea allows foreigners to enter for the first time since 2020

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Tourism in the DPRK: North Korea allows foreigners to enter for the first time since 2020

For the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DPRK is opening its borders to foreign tourists. Learn more about tourism in North Korea and what conditions the authorities have set for tourists planning to visit the country

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Tourism in the DPRK has been a source of hard currency for the cashless country for many years, but the decision to close its borders in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic halted trade in the country. However, according to Bloomberg, North Korea has announced that foreigners can enter the country again, but only under certain conditions. However, as noted in the report, North Korean state media did not make any official announcements about the opening of borders.


What is known about tourism in North Korea?


The largest share of foreign tourists in the DPRK before the pandemic was made up of Chinese citizens. And despite the fact that North Korean fugitives would prefer that tourists never visit their home country, foreigners are fascinated by the atypical and "neo-stalinist" atmosphere in the country.


It is known that tourists were allowed to enter the country only as part of tourist groups, and to visit only those places that Kim Jong-un allowed them to see. Each tourist moved around the country only accompanied by a special guide, and only along pre-determined "tourist routes" that were arranged in such a way as to conceal the true situation in the country.


It is also noted that the restrictions applied to photo and video content, in particular, the filming of all objects related to the defense sector was banned.




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Why is Kim Jong-un easing restrictions on tourism?


The decision to close the borders due to the pandemic has suspended trade. And given the fact that the country is under severe sanctions, this has led to a shrinking economy. According to the Bank of Korea in Seoul, the country's already unstable economy has declined during the years of Kim Jong-un's rule, and therefore he is forced to ease restrictions and open the borders to tourists.


Among the main reasons is the lack of funds. Because North Korea is cut off from international banks, tourism was almost the only source of foreign currency.


Therefore, in 2023, the restrictions began to be eased gradually. It started with the July permission for high-level delegations from China and russia to visit the country. Later, in August, the DPRK sent commercial planes to Beijing and Vladivostok to bring back diplomats, students, and workers who were stranded abroad due to border restrictions.


Now, according to the Chinese state television company CCTV, tourists will be able to visit the country, but subject to a two-day quarantine.


We remind you! According to official information from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, more than 1.3 million foreigners crossed the Ukrainian border from 01.01.2023 to 01.08.2023. Read more about entering Ukraine during the war and find out which citizens of which countries and for what purpose came to Ukraine most often in our previous article.


 Photo: iStock/Claudiad




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