Int'l - Why North Korea's Wonsan Beach Resort could be a game changer for tourism
Tens of thousands could soon be enjoying a one-of-a-kind summer vacation in the DPRK
North Korea was the first country to strictly seal its borders against COVID-19 — and it is still unknown if and when it will open back up for international travel. The country appears to be preparing to welcome visitors nonetheless, busily constructing its east coast Wonsan Beach Resort, the most significant tourism infrastructure project in North Korean history.
Nobody — including us at Young Pioneer Tours (YPT) — is quite sure when it will be finished. The resort’s original deadline of April 2019 came and went, and it has been pushed back at least twice more since then. Naysayers have been eager to compare it to the infamous Ryugyong Hotel, but this is not the 1980s. The DPRK has full knowledge of its realistic capabilities regarding the Wonsan resort.
From a tourism perspective, the plan for the Wonsan Beach Resort is simple. The resort would likely accommodate tens of thousands of guests at a time and will include shopping malls, a water park, entertainment venues and numerous other attractions.
While it’s impossible to know what the “vibe” of the resort will be, from what we have been able to gather it will be nothing like a “normal” North Korean holiday with visits to revolutionary sites, museums, schools, factories and other state-approved attractions.
Rather, the Wonsan project will be more akin to a typical seaside resort experience, something that has never before been available in the DPRK. A place for people to have fun, relax and boost the local economy.
Some may question why visitors would want to do this in a communist country. But one need only look south of Florida to glimpse the potential for a North Korean beach resort.