Chinese tourism optimistic on economic reforms in North Korea

Korean Girls Performing in Restaurant (Photo Courtesy: CNN)

Recent shift in the national focus of North Korea, from nuclear arms to economic development, is prompting optimism in Chinese tourism sector, especially in the bordering Chinese region of Dandong.

As per reports form the travel agents, the tourism industry is showing increased interests in investing in the region, which was affected by the UN sanctions to North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong UN’s economic reform plans and his recent visit to Beijing has helped to increase the confidence in the tourists from across the borders to travel between the countries.

“People who may have long been curious about visiting North Korea may think, it is safer than ever,” said Teng Yi, a tour guide who conducts tours to Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.

“A recent bus accident, which killed 32 Chinese tourists, has caused a slowdown in the tourist flow, but it has already been recovered. Half-day, one-day tours to the nearby North Korean city of Sinuiju is getting booked within hours after announcement,” said Dandong, another travel agent.

After the U.N. imposed sanctions targeting 90 per cent of its annual exports including commodities, textiles and seafood; tourism has been one of the few remaining reliable sources of foreign income for North Korea.

As per reports from the Korea Maritime Institute, tourism generates USD 44 million a year for the country, in which 80 per cent of foreign tourists have been from China.

In order to lure more tourists, many Dandong restaurants feature attractively dressed North Korean waitresses as well as North Korean entertainers who perform for diners, mixing contemporary Chinese pop into their collection of traditional North Korean songs.

Restrictions to bring Korean employees on new long-term visas are still in force. In order to evade the ban, restaurants bring in staff on short-term permits with different visa classifications.