North Korea is planning to build a new resort, modeled after one in the Spanish city of Benidorm. According to reports, the regime hopes to create a large beach resort in Wonsan, one of its port cities, which will attract “drinking tourists.”
According to Fox News, “The secretive regime became infatuated with Benidorm after 20 North Korean officials took a fact-finding trip to the beach resort.” Citing comments made by a spokesman for the North Korean embassy in Madrid, the report said the N. Korean officials were “amazed by the dimensions” of the towers and holiday parks.”
According to TripAdvisor, Benidorm is “a true Spanish beauty of the Costa Blanca.” With “four miles of golden beaches” and “seaside charms,” the location is a tourist magnet.
In addition, say travel analysts, cheap drinks in large supply are an appealing attraction. According to reports, the N. Korean group looked at a resort that claims to have “endless luxury services at your fingertips” called Marina d’Or. They also inspected Terra Mitica, a theme park, which they implied they might wish to replicate.
“They loved the recreation of the various ancient Mediterranean civilizations. It would be very interesting to apply that concept in our theme park, maybe with Asian civilizations,” the embassy spokesman told The Telegraph.
In creating a beach resort, N. Korea hopes to increase tourism. Reportedly, leader Kim Jong Un wants to bring 1 million tourists into the country by the end of 2017. That’s a steep increase from the 100,000 foreign visitors who typically visit the rogue country yearly.
Potentially souring travelers is the recent death of Otto Warmbier, who was visiting N. Korea as a college student. Traveling with a tour group, Warmbier was arrested after he was accused of trying to steal a poster, then sentenced to 15-years in prison for the crime. Warmbier was eventually returned home, but he was comatose and sustained a major brain injury. The 22-year-old died days after arriving back in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Department of State, at least 16 Americans have been detained by N. Korea in the last 10-years, and they are currently detaining 3 U.S. citizens. They are:
- Kim Dong Chul, arrested for spying for South Korea
- Kim Sang-duk, who was “intercepted for committing criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]”
- Kim Hak-song, detained on suspicion of “hostile acts”
The Department of State “strongly warns U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).” The department is considering a full travel ban for U.S citizens as the regime becomes more hostile.
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