August 14, 2013 09:21
North Korea reportedly expects to attract 5,000 customers a day to a ski resort leader Kim Jong-un is building and make US$62.5 million per year from it.
The ski resort is at the mountain pass of Masikryong 768 m above sea level in Munchon, Kangwon Province, along the Wonsan-Pyongyang highway.
The website NK News on Monday reported the figures based on a planning document from the North's Ministry of Sports and Kangwon Provincial People's Committee.
It quoted the document as saying, "North Korean customers from nearby provinces will form the backbone of anticipated demand, followed by international tourists from surrounding nations."
"By charging $50 per person [for 250 days per year], the People's Committee in Kangwon Province and Ministry of Sports anticipate a net revenue stream of $62.5 million from the ski resort per year, of which $43.75 million will be profit," the document says.
To increase profit, the North plans to "host Asian or international competitions or hold business matches and to invite ski fans and cheering enthusiasts," the document adds.
Based on this blueprint, the regime plans to "convince foreign investors to help fund infrastructure for the resort, including ski-lifts, entertainment facilities, and unspecified 'operation technology,'" NK News said.
"The ski resort is going to increase to the maximum the multiplicative and accelerant effectiveness of the investments by introducing energy-cycling technology and constant development operation strategy," the document says.
But the website asked whether it is realistic to expect thousands of North Koreans to visit the ski resort every day by paying $50 at a time when the average North Korean earns just $1,800 per year, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Chris Green of the Daily NK, another website specializing in North Korean issues, says the project is "pie in the sky." The regime's purpose is to placate "some North Koreans that their country is in the same ballpark as South Korea or China," Green told NK News.
It is possible that the North may want to co-host the 2018 Winter Olympics with South Korea. "I think a push for co-hosting is possible, but not necessarily sincere: Masikryong won't meet International Olympic Committee standards anyway," Green added.
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