February 01, 2023

Without more flights, North Korea tourism industry will stagnate

Possible Shanghai-to-Pyongyang flights a godsend in face of potential stagnation

Spring Airlines, a budget flight operator based out of Shanghai Pudong airport, is believed to be in the process of opening a new route from Shanghai to Pyongyang. From February 2016 it could offer as many as four flights per week – which would make it the third player in the North Korean aviation market (the others being state monolith Air Koryo, which runs scheduled flights from Beijing, Shenyang and Vladivostok, and Air China which runs two per week from Beijing).

Now, those of us in the travel industry have learned take such grand announcements with a large pinch of salt. All too often, after the fanfare has died down, the plans amount to nothing. But in this case, we really have to hope this comes to pass – North Korea has pretty much reached capacity for tourism. Without new routes into the country, tourism in the DPRK is likely to stagnate.