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Kim and Putin’s Tourism Push: A Gateway to North Korean Adventures

Russia Promotes Tourism to North Korea
Tourism Cooperation is Following Arms Cooperation
Mass Appeal for North Korean Tourism Might be Difficult

Chosun Central News Agency

Russian local media outlet Izvestia reported on the 12th that Russia and North Korea are strengthening their bond through arms trade and are planning to introduce North Korean beach tourism products in Russia.

According to Izvestia, North Korea is promoting its east coast resort, Wonsan, to attract Russian tourists. Wonsan is famous for its sandy beaches and clear seawater, similar to Sochi and the Crimean Peninsula in Russia. A summer tour program of North Korean beaches has been developed, but the exact schedule has not been released.

It is believed that North Korea has already secured around 40 tourists for the spring tourism products that will be carried out this month and in May. This four-night, five-day tour program includes visits to places such as Kim Il Sung’s birthplace, the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, and Kaesong.

Initially, it is speculated that around 100 tourists will be recruited for the tour, which will visit Pyongyang and Kaesong from April 29th to May 3rd due to the Labor Day holiday in North Korea.


It has also been reported that Project Pyongyang, a North Korean tourism specialist travel agency in Moscow, Russia, has started recruiting for tour programs.

Project Pyongyang promotes North Korean tourism as the most unique country in the world, appealing to tourists with nostalgia reminiscent of the Soviet era.

Their products are expected to include tours lasting 4 to 15 days for individuals and groups.

The total cost for a 9-day tour, which includes visits to tourist attractions in Pyongyang, the Panmunjom at the military demarcation line with South Korea, and the Masikryong Ski Resort in the east, is 1,750 euros (approximately $1,900).


The development of North Korean tourism products in Russia seems to have been driven by the summit meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un last year.

Considering that North Korean tourism for Russians was conducted three times last winter, it can be inferred that there is a high demand for North Korean tourism products in Russia.

According to an interview conducted by a Russian tourist, Ilya Voskresensky, with CNN in February, the inside of North Korea is very similar to the Soviet Union.

Voskresensky, a travel blogger who has visited various regions, said he felt uneasy while touring North Korea and even reported a false job to the North Korean government. However, when asked if he plans to visit there again, he replied, “Of course I will,” which has sparked a discussion.

The blogger revealed that he chose to visit North Korea to compare North Korea with the old Soviet Union, which he had only heard about.

Chosun Central News Agency

As a follow-up to the North Korea-Russia meeting, this tour involved 97 Russian tourists who visited Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, and the Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan. The travel cost per person for North Korean tourism was confirmed to be about $750.

Although the demand for North Korean tourism products is steadily increasing in Russia, experts predict that it will be difficult for these North Korean products to become famous.

A blog called Travel of Saint Petersburg and Beyond, which has 7.3 million subscribers worldwide, posted an article that attracted attention.

The article “Russians are offered exotic beach holidays in North Korea instead of Europe. Is this a new trend or a desperate measure?” suggests that Russian authorities are seriously considering North Korea as an alternative to Turkish and European resorts.

The author expressed skepticism about North Korean tourism, saying they are unsure whether Russians are ready to go to North Korea for a beach vacation.

Rodong Sinmun

Meanwhile, Zhao Leji, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the third-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was expected to discuss improving diplomatic relations between China and North Korea during his visit to North Korea on the 11th.

A South Korean Ministry of Unification official said of Zhao’s visit to North Korea, “Since they have declared this year as the Year of Friendship between North Korea and China to mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations, we expect various exchanges between North Korea and China. We should keep an eye on visible measures between the two countries, such as the full opening of the North Korea-China border and the resumption of North Korean tourism for Chinese general tourists.”

In fact, since the outbreak of COVID-19, exchanges between high-ranking officials in China and North Korea have been suspended, and tourism in North Korea for Chinese tourists has been banned.

Experts predict that Zhao’s visit to North Korea will improve the relationship between North Korea and China and strengthen cooperation between the two sides. Chinese tourists’ demand for North Korean tourism is also expected to increase.

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