North Korea to raise prices and chnage currencies from the Euro to the USD, according to recent reports coming from both within and outside of the country.
While the DPRK is not yet open to tourism, nor do we have any concrete information of when this might happen, we have been are being made aware of potential changes happening in the country by our partners in North Korea and beyond.
Principally these include a change in the currency for settling of accounts, as well as potential price increases on travel to North Korea, both of which are very much linked.
You can read our last travel update here.
Changing from Euro to USD
North Korea have traditionally used the Euro (€) as their hard currency of choice which has been the currency that not only tourists pay, but also what we as tour operators settle accounts with. This is required of tourists, or us purchasing the Korean Won using foreign exchange and settling the bills such.
This has largely been at odds with the economics of the country, with the DPRK settling most international bills, such as for petroleum in USD. In these respects, there has long been a want from those involved in North Korean to have favoured moving to the dollar for a long time.
For those not aware socialist countries tend to have a local soft currency that cannot be exchanged, but also an exchangeable hard currency that is used for international transactions. This was one reason for the emergence of Friendship Stores back in the day.
North Korea to raise prices for tours
North Korea to raise prices for tours is not exactly a surprising thing, but it is also not exactly something tour operators wanted either. Although, on the ground services in North Korea has not changed in the last 15 years – other factors such as flights, train fares and even salaries have of course gone up.
North Korea has not seen tourists for three years and will need to invest in updating its tourist infrastructure, so in many respects if they were to ever increase the prices, now would be the time.
From what we understand North Korea will swap to the dollar at a fixed rate of €1 – $1.20, despite the fact that currently both currencies are about $1-€1. This will mean man actual rise of about 20% on current prices.
You can read about friendship stores here.
Are these changes confirmed?
No, they are not, but they are what we are hearing from people that we trust and cooperate with. We also believe that a change in currency and a raise in prices is also probably a likely scenario.
With that being said pretty much anything could happen still, particularly with the recent visit of Lavrov to the DPRK and the increasingly close ties between the country and both China and Russia.
Overall, though and this involves both procedure, currency and prices for tours, we certainly do not think that things will go back to being exactly the same as and when North Korea does reopen to tourism.
When will North Korea reopen to tourism?
This is still unknown, although we personally are sticking to our predication of April 2024, although whether this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, or something that could completely change is again yet to be seen.
We do though still also feel that it will likely come with Chinese, or Russian guests first and likely via tourists zones such as Sinuiju, Rason, or even the new resort in Wonsan.
As always though this is a subject we will be not only be monitoring, but also updating potential North Korean travellers on.
You can check out our North Korean tours here.