For long Chinese tourists have been able to visit the border city of Sinuiju, located just a stones throw from Dandong across the Yalu river. Last year there were 35,000 day visitors from China to the North Korean border town, with the price of each visit roughly 700 RMB per passenger, most of which is taken by the DPRK side. But until now, tourism to Sinuiju has been limited to Chinese tourists only, with Westerners passing through the city by train never allowed to leave the station / customs facilities. According to our source, this may now be changing.
Before the death of Kim Jong-il it had been agreed that in Sinuiju, Dandong CITS (Dandong China International Travel Service) would be allowed to create an exclusive tourist zone / resort that would feature a hotel, restaurants and other facilities provided for and paid for exclusively by the company. Following the death the project was put on temporary hold, but should be getting started within a few months, with CITS spearheading the initiative, our source informs us.
Initially access to the resort will be limited for Chinese people only, but NK News understands that CITS is planning to make it also available for Westerners, initially by doing small sample groups with foreign tour companies.
According to the source, not only will access to the new Sinuiju resort be visa free, but also passport free, and even ID card free from travel. If true this marks a notable difference from the “visa free” travel in Rason, which does actually require an invitation letter at least. Allegedly the Sinuiju resort will resemble the same model that had been previously used in Kumgang, essentially an armed guarded foreign run enclave. Whether or not this facility will include a casino, as at the infamous Emperor Hotel in Rason, is yet to be seen.