Pyongyang Aims to Boost North Korean Tourism Industry

Pyongyang_Shot (North Korea) courtesy of Roman Harak via flickr
Shot (“North Korea”) courtesy of Roman Harak via flickr

Pyongyang has recently revealed plans to boost North Korean tourism, aiming to host as many as two million tourists by 2020. Kim Jong-un endorsed the goal in 2013, and efforts have recently been renewed after a half-year ban that prevented foreigners from visiting the country due to fears of the Ebola virus. Kim views the efforts as a potentially lucrative revenue booster and a way to counter stereotypes of North Korea as a starving and backwards nation. In 2014, Pyongyang launched a travel website (blocked in South Korea) featuring the country’s tourist attractions. It hopes to attract people to its pyramid-themed water park, ski resort, equestrian center, and high-tech shooting range. The website also highlights North Korea’s scenic mountains, secluded beaches, monuments, and cultural tours of the capital. New restaurants are opening along beachfront areas with hopes of turning the country into a culinary travel destination. The government has expressed hopes that North Korea can be seen as a place unlike anywhere else on Earth.