Kaesong receives 100,000th tourist

According to Yonhap:

Hyundai Asan Corp., a unit of the South’s Hyundai Group in charge of businesses in North Korea, opened the tour to Kaesong in December last year. Everyday, about 370 people visit the North Korean city, about 70 kilometers north of the frontier separating the two Koreas.

The high number of tourists to Kaesong comes as the two Koreas are still bickering over responsibility in the July death of the South Korean tourist, who was fatally shot dead by a North Korean soldier while touring the North’s scenic mountain resort of Geumgang.

Since then tours to Mt. Geumgang, which began in 1998, have been indefinitely suspended.

In a ceremony to celebrate the 100,000th tourist, Hyundai Asan Chief Executive Officer Cho Kun-shik expressed hope that the two Koreas could amicably resolve the impasse over the shooting death.

According to the Associated Press (via the New Zealand Hearld):

Company officials said most of the tourists have been South Koreans but about 2,600 Americans, Japanese and other foreigners also have taken part in the programme.

Before the [Kumgangsan] shooting incident, about 10,000 people travelled to Kaesong every month, but the number of monthly visitors declined to about 7,450 in August and 5,770 in September, according to Hyundai Asan.

Facts:

1. By May 2008, 40,090 tourists had visited Kaesong, and the daily quota was increased from 300 to 500.  

2. Last August, Hyundai announced it was sending $928,560 to North Korea for the Kaesong tours

3. According to Dr. Lankov, the price to customers is W180,000, W100,000 of which is paid to the DPRK.  Additionally, Hyundai pays for all infrastructure improvements.  If these numbers are correct, the DPRK has grossed (and probably netted) W10,000,000,000  since the project was launched (appx. US$9,800,000 using an average interbank exchange rate from January through today).

4.  Although Hyundai Asan asserts (above) that appx. 370 tourists visit Kaesong per day, the most recent monthly figures (5,770 in September) indicate a mere 192/day.  370 is the number derived by taking the total (100,000) and dividing it by the number of days the project has run (appx. 270 this year)…so the daily average trend by month is now well below the annualized daily average.

Read more here:
N. Korean city draws 100,000 tourists from South despite shooting impasse
Yonhap
10/15/2008

North Korea: Border city draws 100,000 tourists
Associated Press (via the New Zealand Hearld)
10/16/2008

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