North Korea relaxes tourism policies

Some policy changes are slowly starting to take shape in North Korea. Radio Free Asia reports North Korea's tourism policies have been eased significantly in recent months.

North Korea relaxes tourism policies

Some policy changes are slowly starting to take shape in North Korea.

Radio Free Asia reports North Korea’s tourism policies have been eased significantly in recent months.

According to the report, Chinese tourists can now get a visa approved within a day when just a month or so ago it took weeks.

Also immigration screening has been eased with inspectors spending less time checking passports and other related travel documents.

In addition, visitors can freely take pictures of North Korea’s countryside while they travel on the tour bus.

Security agents, who used to watch tourists’ every move on the buses, have also been reassigned to different duties.

The easing of restrictions is thought to be behind the boom in the number of Chinese tourists visiting North Korea in recent years.

A report released by China’s state-run tourism agency last month shows 190-thousand Chinese tourists went to North Korea last year, up from 130-thousand in 2010.

Experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants to open the country to tourists to increase cash flow into the North’s moribund economy.

But, they say vast structural reforms and wider tourism programs are unlikely in the near future as Kim does not want to destabilize the country.

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