At the height of tensions between North Korea and the outside world last summer, journalists reported that the country’s mountains terrain helped to shelter its nuclear weapons facilities and would complicate any forced disarmament. Now it seems the notoriously reclusive regime wants to use that same terrain, including a ski hill and coastal resort, as a draw for foreign tourists and to hopefully prop up an economy hit hard by sanctions in recent years.
To mark last week’s World Tourism Day (a real thing, apparently) last week on Sept. 27, North Korean state media released a statement promoting, among other destinations, the Masikryong Ski Resort on the country’s east coast. Masikryong is the same resort used that served as the site of a summit between North and South Korean leaders earlier this month and whose Doppelmayr gondola may have been built in violations of UN sanctions on luxury goods.
The U.S. State Department’s ban on the travel of American citizens to North Korea remains in effect, but Yankees can visit the resort on Google Maps here. In the rest of Asia, though, where industry titans are investing heavily and seriously promoting snowsports recreation and tourism, North Korea could be seen as a viable destination.
There’s plenty of debate among experts about the ethics of propping up a totalitarian regime with tourism dollars, but Unofficial would love to hear from our non-U.S. readership about whether or not they would consider a ski vacation to North Korea.
The full statement, like all issued by North Korean state media, is strange and archaic-sounding and can be found here.
September 27 is the Day of World Tourism.
The 3rd Session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization held in Spain in 1979 decided to mark September 27 every year as the Day of World Tourism.
The aim of marking the day is to make the people understand the worldwide influence of tourism in the overall socio-economic life including politics, economy and culture, and the role and importance of tourism.
Proceeding from this, the WTO sets various themes every year to mark the day and arranges various activities and events.
Tourism is one of the important spheres promoting worldwide visit and exchange, mutual cooperation and understanding and friendship.
Today the DPRK’s tourism enters a fresh phase of its development.
A lot of wonderful cultural and tourist establishments including the Masikryong Ski Resort are injecting fresh energy into the development of national tourism.
Several areas of the DPRK such as Songdowon, Majon and Ryongsupho, seashore scenic spots are coastal tourist destinations and the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area with the condition favorable for coastal tourist activity is being successfully built according to the far-sighted plan of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Other countries are developing tourism while sprucing up major cities and scenic spots as tourist areas.
Pak Jin Hyang
This is what It’s like inside North Korea’s luxury ski resort. Video From National Geographic.