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Asia Minute: North Korea Wants Tourism

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

  If you’re planning a summer vacation, it might involve flying to another island—or another country. But there’s one location in Asia that is not likely to see a big rise in tourism this summer season—despite the government’s best effort. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


It’s an unusual travel campaign: surf North Korea.

That’s part of the latest pitch from North Korea’s “National Tourism Administration.”

Surfing is just one of the themes on offer featuring the “bathing beaches” on North Korea’s east coast—which would put you a little south of Vladivostok, so a wet suit might be in order.

Rice planting is another option and there’s history.

On the English language website, you can join the “Liberation from the Japanese Empire” package tour—8 days and 7 nights next month over the dates marking Japan’s surrender in World War Two.

The capital city is also featured, where “one can learn and experience the history, brilliant culture, wisdom, talents and gorgeous manners of the Korean people.”

Pictures highlight revolutionary sites, monuments and museums – not to mention other categories called “parks and pleasure ground” and “historical remains.”

The U.S. State Department suggests you NOT include North Korea in your travel planning.

In fact, the U.S. government strongly warns against it—citing “serious risk of arrest and long-term detention.”

Over the past ten years, sixteen Americans have been detained in North Korea including the 22-year old college student Otto Warmbier who returned home last month in a coma.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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