According to Cosmojin, a Korean travel agency, North Korea’s nuclear experiments, the shutdown of the Kaeseong Industrial Complex, and the rapid cooling of inter-Korean relations are stirring foreigners’ curiosity and compelling them to sign up for tours of national security areas.
Tours of the JSA, DMZ and NLL were temporarily stopped on January 6 when North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, but resumed on January 23.
Although the areas were open to the public for fewer days last month compared to February 2015, Cosmojin announced that the number of tourists increased by 20 percent.
Many public figures are known to have visited the sites, such as Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who visited Korea before the epic Go match between Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo.
Talk show host Conan O’Brien, World Bank vice-president Axel van Trotsenburg, and Cesar Cernuda Rego, the head of Lego Microsoft Asia, also toured the areas.
“Tours of the JSA, DMZ, and NLL provide an opportunity to feel tension that can only be felt in the only separated country in the world. The experience is drawing foreigners to the areas”, commented officials at Cosmojin. “We are receiving 20 to 30 calls every day inquiring about the tours, and tours for the summer are already booked”, they added.
By M.H.Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)