North Korea Going All Out to Attract Foreign Tourists

North Korea is making strong efforts to attract foreign tourists. The State General Bureau of Tourist Guidance advertised on its website ‘DPR Korea Tour’ that the Korea International Travel Company (KITC) will run a Korean language program at the Pyongyang Tourism College (PTC) from July 14 to August 4, the Seoul-based Seoul-Pyongyang News said on April 4.

The language program advertises three levels of instruction—beginner, intermediate and advanced—with tourists to attend three hours of in-class language lessons each morning, followed by tours in the afternoon of famous attractions and scenic spots in Pyongyang, Kaesong, Nampho and Mt. Myohyang.

The state agency remarked that the PTC has produced many talented workers who now staff the tourism industry. PTC has also expanded the scope of knowledge in the industry by providing to its students a wide range of lectures by both local and foreign instructors. The website also features a film clip, which shows a group of college students from Hong Kong taking the Korean language program at the PTC last December. It added that KITC offers many interesting itineraries combining various themed tour programs, including bike riding around the city of Pyongyang, experiencing daily life on the Migok Collective Farm in Sariwon, learning North Korean cooking, and boating on the Taedong River. Having overhauled its website in mid-March, the state agency is demonstrating efforts to attract foreign tourists by newly introducing a flower festival, exhibitions, sports events, and various other tourist products. Language programs for tourists are not an entirely new product for North Korea. For example, in summer 2017, Kim Hyong Jik University—located in the capital and well-known for producing teachers—held a Korean language summer study program in conjunction with the academically-focused international travel agency Tongil Tours, who is offering their summer program again in 2018 at the same venue. This year, international travel companies such as Koryo Tours, Korea Konsult, and KTG DPRK Tours & Information all appear to be advertising the Pyongyang Tourism College language program, while the company Young Pioneer Tours is offering a very short program (four classes) to take place in July primarily at the School of Foreign Languages in Chongjin, and Juche Travel Services is advertising a three-week program at Kim Hyong Jik University in Pyongyang.