28th October 2023 According to sources from both within and outside of the DPRK, North Korea is tentatively planning to open its borders to competing athletes from January 2024, although how this will be achieved and to what degree it will be open is yet to be seen.
The news follows on from our recent announcement that the country is tentatively panning to not just move to using the US Dollar its hard currency, but also planning to raise prices.
North Korea to open for athletes – reasoning?
Despite the reputation of the country for being isolated, the socialist nature of the DPRK puts great emphasis on sport, as was recently seen from the fabulous display of the North Korean women’s football team who beat South Korea.
North Korea are therefore very much part of and participants in the world of sport, with their athletes being some of the first North Koreans that have been permitted to travel.
It is understood from our sources that the DPRK have been pressured to confirm that they will still be able to host various posting events, which of course will mean that foreign athletes and indeed their teams will need to come into the country.
Yet while this is exciting news, it should also be remembered that China hosted the Winter Olympics essentially as a closed off event and that the unvaccinated Koreans are unlikely to want to see an influx of foreigners during winter months.
North Korea to open for athletes, but what does this mean for tourists?
It should first be noted that North Korea opening to athletes in January is still something that is being discussed, rather than being a “done deal” and that it is not one and the same for tourists.
We personally feel that any opening for North Korean tourism will be done in a staggered way, with Chinese and potentially Russian travelers being used as guinea pigs for an opening to tourism, potentially in what are essentially “tourist zones” within the country.
There is though genuine hope that the country could well start the opening process even as soon as March of next year, with tourists hopefully able to participate and indeed take part in the 2024 Pyongyang Marathon.