The figures were calculated by Yoon In-joo, an expert at the Korea Maritime Institute, as the country tries to escape poverty by booming tourism and offering communism-themed tours. Almost 100.000 foreign tourists visited North Korea, mostly Chinese.
The country aims to reach 2 million visitors a year by 2020. Between the main tourist attractions are the statues of former North Korean Presidents Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Pyongyang, Monument to Party Founding, Monument to Victorious War, Friendship Tower and the recently built Masikryong ski resort. Additionally, starting this year's November, the Kim regime will also begin offering Pyongyang helicopter tours.
The DPRK official website notes that “the Friendship Tower was set up in memory of heroic mettle of the Chinese Volunteers who fought in the Korean War and to enrich the DPRK-China friendship.”
As tourism in North Korea is still very restrictive, experts agree that elderly Chinese communists, Mao Zedong admirers, will be the most interested people in visiting the Pyongyang area.
A researcher at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) declared for The Korea Times:
“Our studies show a considerable number of elderly Chinese and those from former Stalinist states often want to recollect memories of the early Cold War era.
Those people want to visit the place where everything around them looks communist, such as square with a red flag of the yellow hammer and sickle hanging on a tall flag pole, as well as people wearing Mao suits and Soviet-style military uniforms.”
The Korean Friendship Association supporting group for Kim Jong-Un will be offered extended tours for foreign sympathizers of the leader. According to the website, North Korea's tourism goals are described as “Show the reality of the DPR Korea to the world,” “Defend the independence and socialist construction in the DPR of Korea”, “Learn from the culture and history of the Korean People” and “Work for the peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula.”
The next KFA tour is scheduled in January 2016 with the occasion of the “Anniversary of the Great Leader KIM JONG IL” celebration.