Tourists will soon be able to visit inner Kumgang

Joong Ang Daily
Seo Ji-eun

Hyundai Asan Co., an exclusive operator of tour packages between South and North Korea, said yesterday tourists will be allowed to travel to the inner part of scenic Mount Kumgang in the North, an area that has been off-limits, as early as April.

Assisted by the recent agreement on the North’s nuclear issue, Hyundai and North Korea discussed the further opening of the mountain last week.

“The two sides have the same opinion about allowing tourists into inner Mount Kumgang,” said a Hyundai Asan spokesman. “The tour will be possible around early April.”

After visiting the area to look into the feasibility of travel last May, Hyundai Asan forecast it would begin the new service last autumn, but its plans were derailed by the North’s missile and nuclear tests.

According to the Hyundai Asan spokesman, technicians from both Koreas will be gathering as early as possible to talk about constructing roads, developing tour courses and mending facilities.

The leisure arm of Hyundai Group aims to attract 400,000 tourists to Mount Kumgang this year. Although the firm set the same target last year, it ended up achieving 260,000, partly as a consequence of reduced tourism following the nuclear test.

To meet the goal this year, the firm plans to shorten travel times by operating planes that link Seoul’s Gimpo airport to Yangyang in Gangwon province, near Mount Kumgang. Also, a duty-free shop run by the Korea National Tourism Organization will be launched in March and a golf course and spa facilities are slated to open in October.


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