The DPRK government is channelling great efforts into sustainable development of tourism, which plays a central part in service trade, as required by the global trend.
The government strives to establish tourism and economic development zones and develop them distinctively so as to make the country’s land and environment more beautiful and accelerate the growth of local economy.
Korea has been called a 3 000-ri land of golden tapestry since time immemorial. It has rich resources and environment needed for developing tourism physiographically, and these resources provide favourable conditions for developing tourism with less investment.
Scenic attractions can be found everywhere across the country, including such celebrated mountains as Mts Paektu, Kumgang, Myohyang and Chilbo, and Kuryong, Pagyon and Isonnam falls.
The country also abounds with marine resources for tourism as it is surrounded by sea on three sides, as well as densely distributed rivers and streams like the Amnok, Tuman and Taedong rivers, plants and animals, spas and mineral waters, and historical remains and relics.
Thanks to the government’s policies on protecting tourist resources and ecological environment, the mountain and marine tourist resources are very clean in their ecological environment, and the historical and cultural tourism resources are preserved in their original state.
In order to promote tourism as early as possible, the DPRK government recently put forth a policy on establishing tourism development zones for boosting local economy with tourism as the major industry and developing them distinctively.
Laws were enacted on establishing the Wonsan-Mt Kumgang International Tourist Zone, the Onsong Island Tourism Development Zone in North Hamgyong Province, the Sinphyong Tourism Development Zone in North Hwanghae Province, the Chongsu Tourism Development Zone in North Phyongan Province and the Mubong Special Zone for International Tourism and their development projects are now underway.
The government concentrates on developing the Wonsan-Mt Kumgang International Tourist Zone with rich mountain and marine tourist resources into a world-class tourist resort, while encouraging provinces to develop the tourist zones to suit their features.
After setting up an independent national guidance system to supervise and manage the work of tourism development zones across the country in a unified way, it now focuses on site clearing and infrastructure construction in the development zones and development of tourist resources.
While holding fast to the principle of developing the tourist zones with its own efforts, the DPRK government encourages foreign businesses to invest in them in an effort to develop in a diversified way external economic relations with neighbouring and other countries, especially those in Southeast Asia and Europe.
Accordingly, briefing on investment, field inspection and workshops have been organized at home and abroad to give wide publicity to the favourable environment for investment in the tourism development zones and particular attention is being paid to providing a legal guarantee for investment.
Laws and regulations related to tourism development zones have already been adopted and constantly revised and supplemented including the regulations on tourism in economic development zones, law on Mt Kumgang international tourism special zone and regulations on tourism in the Rason economic and trade zone.
The tourism development zones offer legal and preferential treatment guarantee to foreign investors with regard to the opening and running of businesses, land lease, taxes, conditions for entry and exit, labour employment, free and independent business activities, protection of investment and property, remittance of legal income, personal and material property and the like.
Officials for the development and administration of tourist zones and tourism experts are trained systematically according to a long-term national programme. University of National Economy and University of Tourism train students to become tourism administration officials. The universities of education in provinces also train experts on tourism, guides and interpreters.
The government has taken a series of positive measures to boost tourism industry.
It pays primary attention to promoting tourism with local characteristics.
It encourages local and zone authorities to develop tourism products unique to their localities by fully considering and making effective use of the composition of tourist resources, prospects for the growth of tourism and natural and geographical conditions in their areas.
It also puts emphasis on providing tourist service in Korean style and manner. It is important to provide tourists with the distinctive Korean-style service they can neither taste nor experience in other countries, including the traditional manner of reception and hospitality of Korea which has been called the country of good manners in the East.
The government also ensures that tourist resources and environment in tourist resorts are strictly protected.
For the sustainable development of tourism, it enlists the whole country and all people in the effort to protect land and environment and all tourist resources throughout the country on the principle of exploring, developing and preserving tourist resources without damaging ecological environment.
Under the close concern of the DPRK government, Mirim Riding Club, Masikryong Ski Resort and other tourist resorts have sprung up in Pyongyang and local areas, giving delight to the visitors and enriching tourist resources of the country.
Tourism in the DPRK has been under a rapid progress thanks to the government’s efforts to lift the major service industry up to the world level.