With a couple of months having passed since summer vacation, many of us are feeling the need for a few days off. After all, who doesn’t like getting away from their workaday routine for the liberating excitement of a few days taking a trip someplace new, like North Korea?
But if your short-term travel wish list includes a trip to the northern reaches of the Korean Peninsula, you might want to postpone your departure, because as of October 24, no foreign tourists are getting in, due to a new government policy to prevent the spread of Ebola to the communist country.
North Korea has never had a particularly open border, regardless of which way people are headed. In recent years, though, the country has started easing inbound travel restrictions, and our very own team has even paid a visit to the nation.
Still, there are certain things North Korea still isn’t really receptive of. For example, the local authorities would rather travelers leave any ideas subversive to the North Korean government at home, and immigration officials often seal or temporarily take possession of foreign electronic devices.
Oh, and if the country is being totally honest, they’d also rather not have any of that Ebola thing they’ve heard is so popular abroad these days.
▼ “Naw, we’re good. You guys keep it.”
Due to anxiety over the disease’s spread, as of October 24 no foreign tourists will be granted entrance into the country, according to three travel providers, including the Beijing-based Koryo Tours.
Founder Nick Bonner, whose company has made a name for itself with its North Korea tour packages, told reporters that Koryo Tours was contacted by its partners in Pyongyang on October 23 and received news that the ban would be going into effect the following day. At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not the restriction also applies to business and government-related travelers, but sightseers appear to be out of luck.
The length of the ban is undetermined, and Bonner points out that North Korean government policy can change rapidly and unpredictably. Still, if you were planning to jet over to Pyongyang this weekend for some gasoline-roasted clams, you’re going to have to make other dinner plans.
▼ Next time…