The re-construction of Samjiyon is being pushed forward at a rapid pace. Since Kim Jong Un first visited the town in early July, over 100 buildings have gone up. In all, over 400 new structures will be constructed including factories, museums, recreational buildings, housing, and hotels.
The Ryugyong Hotel lit up with the slogan “People Oriented.” The 105 story hotel has been under construction in Pyongyang for over 20 years, however, recently construction on the hotel has quickened and there are rumors that it will be completed in the next year.
The mass gymnastics and artistic performance “The Glorious Country” was held at May Day Stadium to celebrate the 70th birthday of the DPRK. The show incorporated dance, gymnastics, 3D lighting, laser effects, and even drones to depict the development of Korea.
Pyongyang and the Taedong River in September 2018.
A dancing party in the Central Youth Hall was put on in Pyongyang to mark Youth Day. Similar parties were held in provincial capitals throughout North Korea as well as art performances and sports competitions.
Western Pyongyang with the Monument to Party Founding in the distance. Visitors are often surprised at Pyongyang’s bright pastel-colors and uniquely constructed buildings. The city’s development has been overseen by the Pyongyang City Designing Institute which has managed the design and construction of over 470 important projects including recently completed Mirae Scientists Street and Ryomyong Street.
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.
An LED-style display spanning at least five stories and illumination lighting have recently been added to the Ryugyong Hotel. The hotel has been under construction since 1986 but it has seen a flurry of minor construction activities leading to speculation that it will finally open on a limited basis later this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK.