Published on Thursday, January 5, 2012

Could this be the next must-see destination?



Travel firms have seen growing interest in North Korea, one of the world's most secret countries, following the death of leader Kim Jong Il last month.


After scenes of his funeral were beamed around the world, operators say the number of enquiries started to grow.


Regent Holidays, which started selling tours to North Korea 25 years ago, told The Times it saw a lot of interest in the country over Christmas and the New Year and one of its tours to coincide with the centenary celebrations for a previous leader Kim II Sung in April has now sold out.


Regent organises individual trips as well as group travel to North Korea. The Foreign Office notes that "very few" British nationals visit North Korea and warns that travel for Britons within the country are "severely restricted" but it says crime against foreigners is unusual and the risk of terrorist attacks low.


British nationals must have a visa to visit North Korea, which can take six to eight weeks to be approved, and there has been no indication that visa restrictions will be lifted by Kim Jong Il's successor, his son Kim Jong-un.


Separately, Korean Air is to expand its services out of the UK with the addition of three flights a week from Gatwick to South Korea, starting on April 29. The flights will operate in addition to its services from Heathrow.

Other new long-haul routes from Gatwick include Vietnam, following the launch of flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by Vietnam Airlines on December 9, and Hong Kong Airlines plans to start all-premium flights in March while Air China will start flying to Beijing on May 2.


By Linsey McNeill

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