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Pyongyang, Moscow boost tourism exchanges as more Russians set to visit

2024-07-13 20:01:58      点击:341
A Russian tourist,<strong></strong> a member of a tour group traveling to North Korea for the first time since its borders closed due to the pandemic, takes a selfie after checking in to board a plane for the North  at an international airport outside Vladivostok, Russia, Friday. AP-Yonhap

A Russian tourist, a member of a tour group traveling to North Korea for the first time since its borders closed due to the pandemic, takes a selfie after checking in to board a plane for the North at an international airport outside Vladivostok, Russia, Friday. AP-Yonhap

By Jung Min-ho

Pyongyang and Moscow are stepping up efforts to boost cultural exchanges as more Russian tourists are expected to visit the reclusive country next month.

According to Russian media reports on Tuesday, the second and third groups of Russians are scheduled to travel to selected tourist sites in North Korea in early March.

This comes after the first group of 97 Russian tourists were allowed into the country on Feb. 9 for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than three years ago.

Alexei Starichkov, director of the international cooperation agency of Russia’s Primorye region, reportedly said the second group is set to embark on a four-day trip from March 8 through 11, followed by a five-day trip by a third group from March 11 through 15.

According to an ad for the tour, the first group is believed to have visited Pyongyang as well as the Masikryong Ski Resort in Kangwon Province, some 20 kilometers outside of Wonsan.

Amid deepening relations between the two countries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in October that he would recommend North Korea as a holiday destination for Russians.

As part of the joint effort to strengthen ties, officials of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party departed for Russia on Monday to attend an international forum scheduled to be held from Feb. 15 to 17, North Korea’s state media reported the next day without elaborating.

Tourism is one of the few possible sources of hard currency for North Korea as it has been excluded from sanctions imposed by the U.N. and individual countries. Those sanctions specifically target “the transfer of bulk cash,” but not small sums of money visitors bring to the country.

 

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