Home » World News » North Korea is building its version of Benidorm and welcomes British tourists
North Korea is building its version of Benidorm and welcomes British tourists
December 18, 2023
Holidaymakers in Britain will soon be able to travel to North Korea for a Benidorm-style beach holiday as early as 2025.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un wants to hit the accelerator on building ambitions and projects related to his resort in Wonsan Kalma on the west coast which is complete with a water park, hotels, and an airfield.
Michael Madden, a North Korea expert told The Sun: “Provided the Foreign Office does not have such restrictions, if the Wonsan Kalma resort is complete and the DPRK resumes issuing tourist visas then, yes, UK tourists will be able to visit the resort.”
Kin Jong-un ordered the beach resort to be constructed in 2017 after officials were apparently “amazed” by a research trip to Costa Blanca in Spain.
Previous pictures emerged from the site show the leader inspecting rows of high-rise hotels and checking out the sea views.
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Mr Madden said Kim would be eager to see the Wonsan resort open as he wants to attract tourism in special economic zones. He added: “These are long-term policy goals as Pyongyang is well aware that sanctions and continued WMD test activity preclude a glut of tourists and foreign direct investment – even from friendly countries like China and Russia.
“Part of this is to spin tourism away into more traditional areas like beach resorts, winter sports and hot springs. Most tourism to the DPRK is about seeing the country and sites and learning about the culture and society in situ.”
The North Korea expert speaking to the news outlet, said a 2025 opening is likely to be on the cards.
Mr Madden explained: “The resort construction might be the subject of a ‘speed battle’, which is when the Party orders major projects and economic output boosted on an x-day basis.
“The results are then presented and publicised to the population as evidence of the regime’s success and unique virtues of the North Korean political economic system.”
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Covid threw a spanner in the works as North Korea was forced to implement strict quarantine policies. It also meant Kim struggled to secure funding and materials needed for the project.
Kim, however, wants to kick-start construction again and import the materials he needs to finish the construction.
At the moment, the UK’s Foreign Office advises against “all but essential travel” to North Korea.
It warns: “While daily life in the capital city Pyongyang may appear calm, the security situation can change quickly with no advance warning about possible actions by the authorities.”
American passport holders are even banned from travelling to North Korea unless they receive an exemption from the Department of State.