Hyundai Asan may reduce jobs, wages at Kumgang tour

Joong ang Daily

Hyundai Asan Corp., a South Korean company spearheading inter-Korean economic projects, said yesterday it is considering slashing jobs or wages at a scenic North Korean mountain resort that has been opened to Koreans.

The restructuring underscores how Hyundai Asan is struggling with a falling number of tourists to Mount Kumgang on North Korea’s east coast amid growing security concerns over the communist neighbor’s nuclear test in early October.

North Korea has opened the mountain to Koreans since 1998 as part of the South Korean government policy of engaging North Korea and helping Pyongyang’s moribund economy.

“The number of tourists is sharply falling to less than 100 people a day, due to the North’s nuclear test and seasonal factors,” said Hyundai Asan Chief Executive Yoon Man-joon, who was visiting the mountain resort to mark the eighth anniversary of the tourism project.

“We are now studying a number of ways to narrow losses, including a reorganization of the workforce,” he told reporters.

After the North’s missile tests in July and nuclear test last month, the tourism project is now facing its biggest challenge with the daily number of tourists dropping as low as 80, Hyundai Asan officials say. Hyundai Asan is delaying its plan to open the inner part of the mountain to South Korean tourists to March or April next year because of the falling number of tourists, Mr. Yoon said.


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