Published on Monday, December 19, 2011

Tour ops in limbo while North Koreans mourn leader

Tour operators are waiting for information after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il died aged 69.

Andrea Godfrey, general manager of Regent Holidays which offers tours to North Korea, said that the country will go into a period of mourning but it is low season for the destination and is unlikely to affect holidaymakers.

She said it was too early to tell what would happen in the long term.

But she expected the country to go ahead with its celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il-Sung planned for April 2012.

She added: “We have already passed our deepest condolences to representatives in North Korea and the embassy.

“It is extremely low season with our first clients due to go on 10th January which is earlier than usual.

“In the short term we won’t know what will happen but we’re not expecting any problems. At this time – Christmas and New Year – they tend to close down.”

The operator has doubled its tours to North Korea next year to coincide with the centenary celebrations which have been long in the planning.

Today North Koreans were urged by the state-run news agency, KCNA to unite behind his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un as successor.

Kim Jong-Il had been groomed for 20 years to lead the communist nation founded by his guerrilla fighter-turned-politician father.

By Diane Evans

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