The number of Chinese tourists visiting North Korea has fallen considerably, U.S.-based Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday, citing a diplomatic source in Beijing.
According to RFA, a total of 269 Beijing residents joined group tours to the reclusive state from April to September, down 70 percent from the 875 who departed from the same city over the corresponding period last year.
RFA added that about 3,000 tourists from the Chinese mainland visited the country in 2010, but the figure is expected to dwindle this year. One Chinese travel agency cited the limited number of packages and restrictions on where foreign tourists can travel as the main reasons for the lack of interest. Only the capital Pyongyang and Mt. Kumgang are available on Chinese itineraries.
Despite North Korea’s efforts to lure Chinese tourists and investment in order to earn foreign currency, it has yet to capture the hearts of Chinese travelers, RFA noted.
Among other recent overtures to attract foreign holidaymakers to its shores, the country has opened up the Rajin-Sonbong special economic zone, and mobilized the historical Mangyongbong vessel, which was originally used to transport ethnic-Korean Japanese to North Korea.