North Korea: a Tourist Attraction Waiting to Happen?


Movie goers often make their travel plans based on the films that they see. As a result, travel destinations that are featured in movies, often get a boost in tourism. Can North Korea look forward to a ‘The Interview’ effect?

With the release of ‘The Interview’, directed by American director Seth Rogen,  the question on every travel industry insider’s lips must be: is North Korea a tourist attraction waiting to happen?

It is well-known that people are often inspired to visit a country after they have seen it featured in a movie.

And who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with a country whose leaders were so ticked off by a movie that its threat of retaliation actually caused Sony to withdraw release of the movie, and then – because of the uproar that that caused – back down and go ahead and release it anyway?

Talk about a public relations coup! Now WHO doesn’t want to see the movie now???

World’s  Tallest Hotel

If the world ever decides to beat a path to Pyongyang’s door, the world’s tallest (not highest) hotel – if it ever gets finished – awaits.

With construction launched in 1987, the Ryugyong Hotel  rises 105 storeys above the well manicured landscape of the North Korean capital.

It was supposed to be completed in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989.Things got put on hold when the economy took a nose dive.

Tall or High?

It was going to be the world’s tallest hotel.

Construction was halted in 1992 when the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in economic chaos in North Korea.

And – with the arrival of the Rose Tower in Dubai in 2009 – hopes of the Ryugyong Hotel being the world’s tallest hotel were dashed.

Unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory – as I do – that sitting on top of an office building doesn’t count. In my book, to be the world’s tallest hotel – you have to occupy all of the floors. Otherwise, call yourself the world’s HIGHEST hotel, not the world’s TALLEST hotel.

But I Digress …

Soaring 303 metres (or 1,083 feet) into the air, the Ryugyong Hotel will have hotel rooms (how many?), restaurants (what will they serve?), apartments (who will stay there?), and business facilities (with WiFi Internet access?).

Will there be cocktail lounges, karaoke bars, discos, a casino, an all you can eat breakfast buffet, a fitness centre, a swimming pool, a spa? That’s anybody’s guess.

But one thing is for certain. Someday, I want to stay there!!!





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