Due to the nuclear and ballistic missile tests performed by the communist regime in North Korea and the unclear security situation there, the Foreign Office has issued a warning on visiting the peninsula.
Travelers are advised to avoid “all but essential travel” in the area, because of “the threat of further missile or nuclear tests, which could lead to further instability in the country.”
On the other hand, South Korea was not the subject of a travel ban, despite the tension level in the area remains elevated.
The Foreign Office’s travel ban translates into canceled trips and customer refunds, as well as invalidated travel insurance, unless for the citizens already on the North Korean territory.
As people visiting North Korea are always part of tours organize by local authorities, the FCO counsels its citizens to strictly “follow the advice of your tour group and the local authorities. Failure to do so could put your personal safety at risk and lead to a severe punishment from the local authorities. Offenses that would be considered trivial in other countries can incur very severe penalties in North Korea, particularly actions the authorities deem to be disrespectful towards the North Korean leadership or government. In recent years the North Korean authorities have arrested some visitors on these grounds, including 4 US citizens and 1 Canadian. Some individuals have been publicly put on trial by the DPRK.”
Starting 2015, local authorities have announced their intentions to boost their tourism industry, as the tourism-related plan targets two million people worldwide by 2020. Official figures show that North Korea welcomes around 100.000 visitors each year.