North Korea – new tourist destination?


SEOUL – Two travel agencies say they can offer tourists discounted rates on travel packages to North Korea in time for the country’s biggest festival.

The Koryo Tour agency of Beijing and the New Korea Tour agency based out of the United States are both touting the reclusive Communist country and its upcoming Arirang festival in new tourism packages, the Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday.

Koryo’s three-day tourism package, available from Aug. 27, costs nearly $1,000 and would get tourists to North Korea in time to catch the Arirang mass gymnastics performance.

The company said on its Web site the package also includes visits to a number of North Korean landmarks, including Fountain Park and the Juche Tower.

Meanwhile, New Korea is offering packages featuring the Arirang festival, which marks the beginning of North Korea’s communist regime, at a cost of $1,199 per person.

Yonhap said New Korea is particularly focusing its sales pitch on Americans given the fact the Arirang festival period, which runs until mid-October, marks the only period in which U.S. residents may visit North Korea.