Archive for 13 de Abril, 2013

Tal como prometi no Facebook, deixo-vos a curta entrevista que tive oportunidade de fazer a Nick Bonner, fundador da Koryo Tours, uma agência que organiza viagens até à Coreia do Norte e que tem sede em Pequim.

Neste momento, a Koryo continua a sua actividade normal, tem um grupo de turistas na Coreia do Norte e está tudo tranquilo, como se percebe na resposta de Nick.

(peço desculpa por estar em inglês, mas o tempo tem sido escasso)

– We heard that chinese agencies in Dandong have suspended tours to North Korea. Is there any strong reason for that? What about Koryo Tours?
We believe that is a position for Chinese agencies running Chinese tourism. We are a British run Hong Kong registered company and are continuing tours as “normal” . We are in regular contact with the British Embassy in Pyongyang who have not put out any travel restrictions and we also base the current situation of taking in tourist on our 20 years experience and the professional standards of our Korean colleagues- what is remarkable is that they do take this situation with a very responsible attitude. We also accompany every tour group with our own western staff who have made numerous visits and have protocols if the situation gets worse.

– Having in mind your large experience travelling to NK, would you say that things are different there by these days? If so, could you give some examples?
Not really- we have a group in Pyongyang at the moment 15 people with US tourist and I rang  the tour leader Dan Levitsky on his mobile and everyone is normal – he said that his guide on the way to the group was more worried about if she had time to drink a cup of coffee before meeting the group than the current situation.

– What’s the importance of tourism for north korean economy?
We take around 2 thousand western tourists a year and that is about 40% of all western tourists- so that impact is minute. At Koryo  Tours we are not just a travel company but also involved in critical cultural engagement from sports trips to film festivals and educations trips. The work we do is one of the few strands of ‘normalisation’ and it impacts both huge numbers of people (with the UK Embassy we had Bend it like Beckham broadcast around the country in 2010) and on a minuscule level just having western people to speak English to is something we think is of value to many Koreans.


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