North Korea: China's latest holiday destination
Increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula won't stop Chinese travelers from booking holidays to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) -- or that’s what Shanghai travel agencies are hoping, according to a Global Times report.
Jinjiang Travel, a large local firm, is one of a number of operators that has recently begun booking travel to the DPRK, in response to an impressive rise in demand.
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The new travel options are capitalizing on the extra flights between Shanghai and Pyongyang. Two non-stop, three-hours flights now run between the two cities each week and can carry about 130 passengers.
Although local travel agencies see the potential in Shanghai-North Korean travel -- once the exclusive preserve of Beijing -- any growth at this point will make up for the almost complete collapse of tourism last year when tensions in North Korea were at their peak.
The tensions limited the success of the direct Shanghai-Pyongyang route, which opened in August 2010.
The aim of the route, according to a People’s Daily report is to "help to further promote cooperation and exchanges between China and North Korea in trade, tourism and culture.”
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"We believe the direct flight route, which will cut the previous travel time in half, can draw back those travelers who feel tired of transferring in Beijing or Shenyang,” Dong Ming, manager of Jinjiang Travel’s overseas travel department, told the Global Times.
“Anyway," Dong continued, "North Korea is still a mysterious and attractive country for many people, both old and young.”