Chinese tourism to the North Korean capital city will be highly restricted until as late as the end of August, informed sources told NK News on Friday.
The measure comes amid a significant uptick in Chinese tourism to the DPRK, which in recent weeks has resulted in as many as a thousand PRC nationals arriving in Pyongyang every day, NK News reporting showed in August.
“From tomorrow Chinese tourists are not allowed into Pyongyang until the end of the month,” an informed source told NK News on Friday.
“Basically, (it’s) to give hotels a chance to clean up and get ready for the September rush,” they added.
North Korean authorities are currently preparing for the arrival of numerous high-level delegations to observe forthcoming September 9 celebrations for the 70th National Foundation Day anniversary.
A large number of Western journalists, numerous DPRK-linked friendship groups, and a high-level Syrian government delegation are all among those known by NK News to be visiting the country to observe the celebrations.
“A lot of hotels are currently being renovated and won’t be accepting Chinese tourists, but they’ll still be accepting Westerners,” a second source confirmed to NK News about the developments.
“Hotels usually do this before a big celebration, but because Chinese tourism has boomed recently to North Korea, the Chinese have been told to tone down their volumes so hotels can prepare.”
An internal DPRK-produced tourism agency “emergency notice” document addressed to Chinese agencies seen by NK News said: “since August 10, 2018, all hotels in Pyongyang have entered the more than 20-day maintenance project.”
“Therefore, it is impossible to receive any tour groups,” the document continued, describing its purpose as an “urgent notice.”
The first source explained that the measure would even prohibit the arrival of Chinese tourists who already made bookings to arrive in the restricted period, something that could potentially relieve recently sold-out flight and train ticket availability.
Rapidly increasing numbers of Chinese tourists are visiting North Korea, NK News reporting has shown since June, with between 1000-2000 PRC tourists reported by sources as visiting popular sites such as the DPRK side of the DMZ in a single day.
It’s possible the surge in Chinese tourism interest could have been viewed by DPRK authorities as risking a strain on Pyongyang’s limited hotel infrastructure ahead of what has traditionally been a high profile national anniversary event.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: NK News
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