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N. Korea keeps spa and ski resorts running despite fears of new coronavirus

All News 16:32 February 06, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continues to operate its newest spa resort in the central county of Yangdok and the country's No. 1 Masikryong ski resort in the eastern region despite fears over the global spread of a new coronavirus from China.

Around 25,000 tourists have visited the Yangdok spa resort in the North's South Pyongan Province since it first opened on Jan. 10 up to Feb. 4, Pyongyang Radio said Thursday.

"Many workers and the youth continue to visit the resort, where they can enjoy treatment and recuperation, ski and horseback riding facilities as well as luxurious homes in this well-connected resort," the state's radio channel said, emphasizing that the number of visitors continues to grow amid the new coronavirus crisis.

Another media outlet, DPRK Today, published an interview with Pyongyang Koryo International Tours on Tuesday, quoting an officer as saying, "we regret to say that we cannot accommodate all visitors who have requested for a reservation as we are fully booked."

The North's state TV also highlighted the normal operation of Masikryong ski resort, located on the outskirts of the eastern city of Wonsan, which opened in December 2013 as one of the pet projects of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"More than 10,100 people and around 10,500 ski riders visited the Masikryong ski resort until Feb. 2 according to collected data," the Korean Central Broadcasting Station said Wednesday.

Kim has recently aimed to develop the North's tourism industry in an effort to beef up its economy faltering under international sanctions.

The spread of a new deadly coronavirus signals a blow to the North's tourism industry that depends on Chinese tourists.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (in white shirt) visits the construction site of the Yangdok County Hot Spring Resort nearing completion, north of Pyongyang, in this photo provided by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Oct. 25, 2019. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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