As reported by YPT, as well as various other sources, changes have been made that have indicated North Korea will reopen at some point, but as previously reported this will not, initially at least, be for tourists.
To sum up our previous article the Air Koryo fleet is currently being brought up to the standard whereby the planes may fly into China, while Air China have applied for the Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing route.
You can read the article here.
North Korea to reopen – update
Yet while these moves have been made and indeed flights from China and Russia recently landed in North Korea for the first time in three years, the country officially still has a zero-covid policy.
This was emphasised by the fact that when the Russian delegation departed, the embassy staff were required to quarantine for seven days. This will of course hopefully change, particular with the diplomatic muscle of Russia, but it also shows the mentality of North Korea with regards to the pandemic.
To read about the quarantine click here.
North Korea to reopen to citizens
What news has actually come out is that the many North Koreans who were locked out of their country for three years will now be allowed to return home. This is similar to the policy that China had prior to its shock therapy reopening.
While we do not know what will happen when Koreans return to the DPRK, we can make educated guesses. It is most likely that not only will returnees be required to show proof of vaccination, but that they will be required to quarantine. Again, this is not confirmed, but it is what we have been led to believe.
When is North Korea to reopen to tourism?
North Korea have not announced a reopening to tourism and this should be well noted. The news is that they will let in returning citizens. This is very much stage one, and should it go well the country can move to stage two.
North Korea and China have already announced a resumption of trade, which is much more important than tourist dollars. This will also need to go smoothly before stage three can be reached.
Stage three and the first opening to tourists will most likely be restricted to Chinese guests only and potentially only those going to controlled zones such as Sinuiju, or even the new tourist resort in Wonsan.
When will North Korea reopen to westerners?
Quite simply no one knows – and anyone who says they do are lying. We can though again make an educated guess. North Korea is unlikely to throw open their doors during winter when infections have more chance of spreading rapidly.
That means that this year is pretty much all but out, with the weather cooling rapidly within the next few months.
As an educated guess though we can suggest April of next year as being the best-case scenario for a reopening of the country to tourism. Yet while this is a measured guided estimate, the other possibility is that the country may simply blind side us and reopen without any prior notice.
So, even if you see companies such as ourselves and others advertising tours to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, do not read too much into it, for we have all been doing the very same since the country first closed back in January 2020, being the first country to close and indeed, as we predicted the last country to reopen.
You can check out our North Korean tours here.