North Korea makes push to attract Taiwanese tourists

Taipei, In an effort to attract more Taiwanese tourists to North Korea, the country opened an official tourism promotion center in Taipei Thursday.

Following the opening ceremony, two tour group packages were offered to Taiwanese who now can directly book packages to visit the hermit kingdom.

The two packages, NT$30,000 (about US$1,000) for a three-night tour and NT$50,000 for a five-night stay, were the first to be offered by the center -- a joint venture between a North Korean government-sponsored travel agency and Taipei-based Chung Hsing Travel Service.

All the destinations included in the two tour group packages are scenic spots authorized by North Korea's tourism bureau to target foreign visitors, an executive of the center said.

According to the executive, Chinese and Russian tourists make up the bulk of foreign visitors to North Korea. Fewer than 1,000 Taiwanese tourists visit per year, he noted.

According to Chung Hsing Travel Service Chairman Ringo Lee (???), there are no direct flights between Taiwan and Pyongyang at present and travelers bound for North Korea have to transfer in China. Efforts are being be made to launch direct chartered flights between Taiwan and Pyongyang and there will be private flights to serve high-end customers, he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel