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Chinese tourism to North Korea increased dramatically in June

NK Pro Chinese tourism to North Korea ‘increased dramatically’ in June Huge spike in Chinese tourism to North Korea in wake of summit meetings Chinese tourism to North Korea “increased dramatically” since the beginning of June, tourism industry insiders told NK News on Friday, with train and plane capacity both expanded significantly to accommodate the expanded demand. The rise in interest is notable because it comes following two partial Chinese bans on tours to the North, one from November last year  – after repeated DPRK missiles tests – and one after a catastrophic bus accident killed 32 Chinese nationals visiting the country in April . “Within the last three weeks Chinese tourism to North Korea has increased dramatically,” said Rowan Beard of the Young Pioneer Tours travel agency, adding it appeared that the April “ban the Chinese government placed on Chinese tourists from visiting Pyongyang … has now been lifted.” As a result of the enlarged demand, train tickets from Dandong to Pyongyang have become extremely difficult to obtain, even though trains have been expanded to include up to fifteen carriages, “the longest train I’ve seen ever leave Pyongyang,” an anonymous industry source said. “The train is fully booked for at least another 15 days,” said a foreign resident of Pyongyang, adding that recent geopolitical developments meant that the “Chinese government encouraged (PRC nationals) to visit abroad and subsidized their visits.” Simon Cockerell, General Manager of the Beijing-based Koryo Tours , said that “for the last few weeks there have been literally hundreds of Chinese tourists at any one time in the DPRK, and not just in Sinuiju,” a border city that many Chinese go to on day trips from Dandong. “I was in Dandong recently and a Chinese tour operator there told me his company has 300 plus tourists going to Pyongyang the very next day,” Cockerell continued. The anonymous industry source further added that in mid-June there were over 1,000 Chinese tourists in Pyongyang simultaneously. The numbers are significant when considering only 4,000-5,000 Western visitors visit Pyongyang each year, while the increased demand even potentially impacting on North Korea’s capacity to serve the Chinese clientele. “Chinese speaking tour guides have been working non-stop and at this time of year (when) they usually get mobilized for rice transplanting,” Cockerell said, adding that “most of the Chinese speakers haven’t been doing that due to workload.” “Some English speaking tour guides have (also) been retraining in Chinese too, to help when there are simply too many mainland tourists”. Beard said that the warming relations between China and North Korea mean that “Chinese tourists feel comfortable wanting to spend money in the North Korean economy.” “Now in Dandong it seems that the people here are happy for North Korea because they all want to make money from the country opening up towards China,” he said. “Previously last year, when I talked to Chinese about North Korea they would all curse it.” The increase in visitors comes after a flurry of aviation news that reflects rapidly expanding demand for travel options between the two countries, all in the wake of the three summit meetings between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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Dont Expect Chinese Travelers, Chinese State Media tells South Korea

This is further corroborated by Park Yong-hwan, senior deputy director of the China Team at the Korea Tourism Organization, who told the Global Times that growth “this year is expected to be slightly higher than the previous year due to the base effect.” Other state media’s eagerness to report on Chinese tourism growth in South Korea could have indicated that a softening or lifting of the now over one-year-old tourism ban was imminent, but the Global Times’ rebuttal now puts that into question. The expected return of Chinese group travelers now appears less-than-imminent Now, with tensions seemingly easing on the Korean peninsula, South Korean tourism stakeholders are now reportedly promoting peace-themed tours along the DMZ as a sign of the times. However, even a message of peace seems to fail to resonate with Chinese tour operators (or, perhaps more likely, their governing bodies). “Major travel agencies in China, for example, Ctrip, have no plans to explore business opportunities in ‘peace-themed’ tours,” the Global Times reported. Of course, it should perhaps be pointed out that Chinese online travel agencies (OTAs) are still barred from selling any South Korea tour packages , so the “no plans” may simply be because they’re indefinitely unable to do so—whether peace-themed or not. However, as arguments often go in Chinese media, the underlying cause of all this unpleasantness isn’t South Korea, China, or even North Korea—it’s the United States. “The interference of US forces jeopardized Sino-South Korea ties, including business relations,” Liang Qidong, vice president of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences told the publication. Liang also argued that it’s THAAD which caused “significant losses” to the South Korean tourism industry. Of course, fact that a growing number of Chinese free independent travelers (FITs) are visiting South Korea would suggest that it’s less about THAAD repelling Chinese group travelers, and more about China’s tourism ban doing just that.

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Simple Travel Advice To Make Life Easier

Vacations can cause you to become very optimistic. Unfortunately, the excitement of the trip may lead you to forget some useful information. Travel knowledge allows you to do a number of things. Read on for advice you can use in planning your next trip.

Never use a public computer when you are away from home to check your bank accounts. Some individuals may have installed keyloggers to steal your information.

Making travel arrangements far in advance can help keep your trip affordable. There are many things that cost money while traveling and many of them are cheaper when purchased ahead of time. By minimizing your last minute spending, you can stretch your travel budget further.

Join a price watcher for travel. This allows you to track prices. Once your fare or hotel rate drops to where you want it, you will receive an email notification. This will prevent you from having to check prices every day.

Get in a workout before boarding your flight. Long airplane trips can be tiring to your body. When you are forced to sit in the same position for hours on end, your back and legs can cramp up. Taking the time to workout before you fly will reduce or even eliminate those cramps.

Make sure you check that you are getting the best price through the carrier themselves. Yes, there are other sites that have cheap flights, but you are doing yourself a disservice by skipping the airline websites.

Allow a family member access to your travel itinerary. This makes it possible for someone to be familiar with your location all the time. Keep in contact with them constantly to enure safety. By letting them know how your trip is going and where you are, it gives them peace of mind that you are safe.

Getting away is great, but too often we bring too much with us to remind us of home. Try to pack just the items you really need, however. Make a short list of toiletries you use daily and are truly needed. Pack what is most important.

Be aware of your passport's expiration date. There are rules about your passport in many countries. If your passport expires within a specified time frame, you may not be able to enter the country. The limit on expired passports can range up to six months; some countries may go up to a year.

As soon as you can, find out if you need a visa for entry to the country that you plan to visit. Some countries have an extensive process to grant visas. Apply for the appropriate visas long before your departure. It is important to know that some countries could deny you entry without the proper visa.

Expectations fill everyone before a trip, but don't let it all weigh you down. Rely on the advice in this article when it comes to planning out your trip. Learn everything you can about the area you are going to; you won't regret it.

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