A group of tourists from Russia will become the first to be allowed into North Korea since it closed its border in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Russian regional authorities and a Western tour guide, on Friday, the 12th of January, reports Reuters.
As the regional government announced on Telegram this week, the trip, advertised by an agency in Vladivostok, was arranged during Russia’s Far Eastern region of Primorsky Krai governor’s visit to North Korea when he visited Pyongyang in December to take part in talks.
According to the online itinerary, the trip will start on the 9th of February and will last four days
and will include visits to Pyongyang and a ski resort.
Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours, who is not involved in the trip, told Reuters that his counterparts in North Korea had confirmed that the Russian tourists’ visit would take place under special circumstances.
While this is seen as a positive development, it remains unclear whether it will lead to a wider opening of the tourism industry, Cockerell said.
Tourism is largely unaffected by UN Security Council resolutions restricting business with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes.
In the year before the pandemic, North Korea saw an influx of Chinese tourists, which may have generated up to 175 million US dollars in additional revenue in 2019, according to estimates by Seoul-based NK News, writes Reuters.
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