• Tourism will not be affected : DPRK

    Ramesh Tiwari
    July 28, 2017
    Tourism will not be affected : DPRK

    Pyongyang ( AFP ) : Washington’s ban on US citizens travelling to North Korea will have no effect on the country’s tourism industry and Pyongyang does not care about it “at all”, a senior development official insisted .

    The measure is due to be enacted this week and once it goes into force US passports will no longer be valid for travel to the isolated country, which is subject to multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes.

    Around 5,000 Western tourists visit the North each year, tour companies say, with Americans numbering about 20 percent of them. Standard one-week trips cost about $2,000.

    Washington announced the move after the death of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour in the North for trying to steal a propaganda poster.

    Warmbier was sent home in a mysterious coma last month – Pyongyang said he had contracted botulism -and died soon afterwards, prompting US President Donald Trump to denounce the “brutal regime”.

    The State Department has long warned its citizens against travelling to North Korea, telling them they are “at serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement”, which “imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States”.

    He said Washington’s move was politically motivated. “The US has been continuing with sanctions against us but we don’t care at all,” he said.

    Pyongyang officials consistently say that sanctions against their country have no effect on it.

    But according to tour companies business has already been hit hard by recent developments, including tensions over the North’s weapons programmes, with Trump administration officials warning that military action was an option on the table.

    “Certainly, of all the dramas that have gone on lately, the Warmbier issue is the biggest one for tourism,” said Simon Cockerell, general manager of market leader Koryo Tours which has seen bookings fall 50 percent. “It’s depressed the market quite considerably.”

    The US decision, he said, would hit North Koreans working in the tourist sector, and wipe out “any possibility of a humanising human element between those two sides who demonise each other so much”.

    Matt Kulesza, of Young Pioneer Tours – the company which brought Warmbier to the country — said the ban’s effect on the North would be “absolutely nothing”.But Americans, he added, would lose “the freedom to travel to DPRK (North Korea) and experience the DPRK for themselves”.

    New South Korean president Moon Jae-In favours engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table as well as sanctions.

    July 2017

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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