North Korea is seeking investment for a new hotel construction project in the Wonsan-Mount Kumgang International Tourist Zone, according to a proposal released this week.
The guide for what will be called “Naekumgang Hotel” was released on Monday, with information on the “total planning of developing Mt. Kumgang International Tourism Special Zone.”
The hotel will be established in Naekumgang-ri, Kumgang County in Kangwon Province, and will provide accommodation and amenities as well as services which enable “domestic and foreign tourists” to rest, exercise, and entertain.
Naekumgang is “a scenic district in the western part of Mt. Kumgang,” according to the official website of the DPRK National Tourism Administration.
The proposal asks for investment in the construction of a 12-story building in a total site area of 12,000 square meters.
The 250-bedroom hotel will be equipped with 500 beds, and will consist of five first-class rooms, 10 second-class rooms, and 235 third-class rooms.
“We are planning to construct an underground parking garage with the capacity for 30 cars,” the guide, carried on the website of the Chosun Mt. Kumgang International Travel Agency reads.
“We will make a swimming pool that can accommodate 70 people at the same time.”
The investment guide also said the seating capacity of the restaurants is expected to meet demand “sufficiently” and that a “large capacity shop for soft drinks” will be built, without providing any further details.
An investigation on the feasibility of the investment scale and the hotel’s profitability is “at an initial stage,” the guide said.
Entities can invest in the hotel construction in two ways: by setting up an equity joint venture or through an independent foreign-owned company.
The setting up of new joint-ventures with North Korean companies was prohibited under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2375 on September 11. Member states have 120 days to implement the new rule.
Construction is expected to take up to two years, after which the Kumgangsan Special Zone for International Tourism Development Corporation – responsible for developing the Mount Kumgang region as an international tourist zone – will operate the hotel under a 30-year lease.
The region is also now operating three new routes for “hiking lovers and professional climbers” in addition to running trekking tours for general tourists.
Two of the new courses are in the Oekumgang area (Outer Kumgang): a 16.1 km hiking course between Kuryongyeon and Sejonbong ridge, and a 6.4 km course connecting Manmulsang, Cheonseondae Cliff, and Mangyangdae Cliff.
Another 18.8 km long hiking course is in the Naekumgang area (Inner Kumgang), and allows climbers to visit Piro Peak and Guryongyeon Waterfalls.
Pyongyang’s attempts to develop the Mount Kumgang area into an international tourist destination have not been dissuaded by the suspension of inter-Korean cooperation on the project almost a decade ago.
The DPRK announced in early July that the country was seeking investment for a new restaurant street, which would provide a range of local specialties to tourists.
In mid-March, North Korean media also promoted an investment proposal for a new line of casino cruise ship routes linking Mount Kumgang to the Russian city of Vladivostok and destinations in Southeast Asia.
The country’s Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) on May 31, 2011 adopted the “Law on Special Zone for International Tour for Mt. Kumgang.”
The law allows foreign investors and South Koreans to invest and set up facilities in the area, including “restaurants, casinos, golf courses, nightclubs and medical treatment and amusement halls,” according to a report carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 2, 2011.
A decree setting up the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang international tourist zone – which covers the areas of Wonsan, Masikryong Ski Resort, Ullim Falls, Sokwang Temple, Thongchon and Mt. Kumgang – was adopted on June 11, 2014.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: DPRK National Tourism Administration
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