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I would like to wish all of our customers and associates new and old a great and prosperous 2012, and hope that you all had fun over the festive period 2011.
As you can imagine for those of us involved in the DPRK Tourist industry, the recent events surrounding the death of Kim Jong Il and its aftermath have been a somewhat stressful and confusing time. The DPRK is even at the best of times a somewhat interesting place to do business, so when an event of this magnitude gets thrown into the mix, well you can just imagine. For a while it was extremely unsure how long the country might be closed for, and exactly what affect it would have on tourism, but we are very happy to say that things at the moment seem to have calmed down a little, and from a tourism point of view at least, it should be business as usual.
You may well have noticed that YPT stayed quiet over the issue of when the country would be reopened, where other companies were throwing out dates even after just a few days of the death (dates which proved to be wrong), with everything in a place like the DPRK, patience is the prudent thing to do!!!! And we can now confirm that the DPRK is open from January 10th, meaning all tours can go ahead as planned.
2011 was a great year for us, with us taking over 200 people to the DPRK, as well as running successful trips to Rason and Tibet, not to mention our first ever Mt Kumgang Cruise, Revolutionary Tour of China, as well as the immensely successful Eurasian Adventure Tour which started in Beijing and finished in Albania, and at its peak had 25 brave Pioneers.
Now anyone that follows the DPRK will know that 2012 is a very special year, this combined with the recent events mean that there are even more exciting new trips coming up with this years Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour, and Kim Il Sung 100th Birthday Tour in April, both standing out massively, with even North Korea experts such as ourselves only being able to speculate as to how massive the celebrations will be. We will also be running standard favourites such as the May Workers Day Tour, August Arirang, and Mt Paektu tour, where we visit the birthplace of General Kim Jong Il. Overall we plan to be running at least one tour per month, with more so at busy times, all of which can be viewed here.
Aside from what could be called “standard tours”, we will also be running a number of other “speciality tours” for major events happening in the DPRK such as the film festival and marathon, which we are currently in the process of arranging. Please keep checking this link, to be kept up to date.
As always we are also planning two tours for DPRK veterans, with the Paektu Tour, and DPRK Returners tour both getting a %10 discount for all former customers, or those referred by them.
Following on from being the first company to run a government approved Golf Tournament back in 2010, we are also proud to announce that we will be running a 5 a side football tournament this June, with us also managing to watch a live domestic game as part of the deal. We welcome applications from singles, as well as fully fledged teams, with there also being local participation. This should be a great trip, one that although still in the planning stages, we aim to have up and ready as soon as possible.
2011 also marked a big expansion for YPT, with us adding some more “international” flavour to the company, running the Eurasian Adventure Tour, which took in 2 continents, 13 countries and even included Transnistria and Chernobyl. We are currently tweaking the program for 2012, but plan to have this as a yearly adventure.
YPT are also currently planning a trip to Iran in early April, as well as a trip to Sakhalin at the end of April, not to mention talk of trips to Turkmenistan, and even Somaliland. As our slogan goes “taking you to places your mother would rather you stayed away from”. This looks like being our most interesting and adventurous year to date, please keep an eye on our international page, or if you have any suggestions on where you think we should go, please get in touch.
Aside from these new sexy destinations, we are still running tours to Tibet, many of which can be combined with a North Korean tour, as well as a planned full calendar of events in the very special economic zone that is Rason, with a special Tourism Research Tour, this February, as well as planned trips throughout the year.
Being the tech happy hip and smart wizz kids that we are, we have also jumped head first into the world of Social Media, with our awesome Facebook Page, and constantly updated Twitter account. If you have not done already, please “like” our Facebook page for a chance to win a free trip to North Korea, with one lucky guest winning a free trip last year.
For 2012 we are also planning a new Iphone app, as well as a re-done YPT Club for customers to share news and pictures.
Now to those who traveled with us over 2011, and before. It was truly great meeting you, and myself and the other guides Troy, Shan, and Richie all made a lot of friends, and a hatful of funny stories to end the year with. For those who we have not been in touch with for a while, please drop us an e-mail to let us know where you are in the world.
Also on the subject of old customers, we are currently in the process of updating the website, and would love to add some testimonials from people that have been and enjoyed a trip with us, please feel free to e-mail us so that we can publish your story. We are also very happy to link to any blogs that mention us, or even your own personal, or business website.
As a year of expansion in the company, we are also looking for a number of new partnerships. If you are interested in selling tours as an agent of YPT we would sincerly like to hear from you! We are also actively seeking to translate the website into as many languages as humanly possible, with us offering generous rewards to those that wish to help us. Again please drop us an e-mail if this is something you would like to do.
Also from a purely personal point of view, YPT’s Gareth is now regularly blogging at www.clearlynotthecase.com, with some interesting takes on the recent Eurasian Adventure Tour. Not to mention the company blog at www.Blog.YoungPioneerTours.com, which is updated by the whole team.
And lastly, but fairly importantly Gareth, Troy, and Shan would like to warmly welcome Richie, who is now a full time guide, and replier, as well as Luke, who works full time in our office, both of whom you can expect a reply from should you mail us.
Sincerely hoping to see a lot of you in 2012, after all it is a big small world out there. Please do keep in touch.
Everyone at YPT.