Russia is to start selling tours to North Korea, according to a state-run news agency Pravda announcement on 10 January 2024, but when exactly will this start, where will it be applicable and what does it mean for an overall North Korean reopening? YPT take a look.
TLDR; long story short – North Korea has not completely reopened for tourism yet. Only for Russians.
So, according to a Russian Telegram channel operated by Vostok Intur, “Do you want to visit one of the most interesting and mysterious countries in the world, North Korea? Then quickly pack your bags and go on a 5-day tour”.
While few Russians have previously used North Korea as a holiday destination since Soviet times, it was an option promoted during the state visit of Foreign Minister Lavrov to North Korea, as announced previously by YPT.
And the first tour they have advertised? 9 February 2024 – yes, next month.
Will North Korea open in February 2024?
This has been confirmed by our contacts in Pyongyang, and has certainly been implied by what we are both seeing and hearing from the past few months. It also fits with what we had always believed, namely that North Korea would embark on some form of soft opening.
Will Chinese also be in the first round of visitors to North Korea? We have reached out to our Chinese partners, who as of now have not heard the same news.
This though could mean a number of things and does not lean us towards any firm conclusion.
When will North Korea reopen to other foreigners?
We personally believe that North Korea will initially reopen “softly” namely to Russians and/or Chinese before other foreign tourists.
This will not only give North Korea time to test the waters, but also reinvest in their tourism infrastructure, which is desperately needed.
Therefore, it is still our opinion that North Korea will reopen to all at the earliest by April, depending of course how things go with the Russians.