The number of inbound travellers grew largely again in 2014, mainly contributed by visitors from China. As Chinese tourists have greater disposable income and are looking for holiday destinations, the allied neighbouring country, which has strict restrictions, would be an exciting place to visit. Apart from joining tour groups, many Chinese companies are also rewarding their employees with such holiday destinations.
With the tight regime in North Korea, many decisions can be made by one man overnight. Restrictions can be put in place that affect tourists such as the banning of visitors, or not holding events which tourists have been yearning to watch. Due to the tight security, visitors are also advised not to wander around on their own as they might cause suspicion to the military.
Despite being a closed country, North Korea is still looking at tourism to help bring in more foreign earnings. The tourism board does have a basic website despite the tight internet control, which provides information on major events in North Korea and simple introduction for places of interest.
Although the North Korean government would like to encourage more foreign exchange from tourism, more needs to be done to improve the facilities such as airports and runways. Although the new international terminal at Sunan Airport was completed in July 2011, it is said to be understaffed. The second terminal of the international airport is still under construction and no date of completion had been announced at the end of the review period.
If the North Korean government continues to support tourism, Chinese tourists are likely to continue flocking to see this closed country as an exciting holiday trip. Foreign visitors are expected to increase but at a slower rate compared to Chinese tourists. Although non-Chinese tourists can enter North Korea from China, these tour groups are usually operated in Mandarin so the potential of non-Chinese tourists booking tours from travel agents will remain low over the forecast period.
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