Read the original article here. They've built a lavish 1,600 hectare ski resort and have announced plans to increase the number of overseas tourist per annum from 200,000 to 1 million by 2016.Somehow I feel that the chances of a snowball surviving in hell, is slightly better. The last thing a closed country like North Korea needs are citizens who have open minds. It's closed minds which keep them in power.
Let's speculate about their motives here. Why the sudden shift to tourism? To generate revenue for the corrupt leadership and prop up the struggling economy, of course. Will it benefit the population? Not directly, but we can hope that at least some of the increased economic activity it brings will. Will this initiative work? I think most likely yes, North Korea is bound to generate interest from curious international tourists. As it used to, even before they decided to close the borders.
But they'll have to build much more infrastructure and form a variety of industries to cater to this influx of tourists. This means hiring working class North Koreans to work in these industries, not only that, but some of these people will need to speak English. As much as they might try to limit it, cultural exchange will happen. You can keep an eye on a couple of thousand foreigners, but what happens when it is a million and over? Rules against bringing foreign media and interacting with the locals will have to be easened, or ignored.
Once the tourism industry has developed, it will become the lifeblood of the NK economy, to the point that the leadership will have to choose between losing centralized rule of the economy or losing the prosperity they've achieved. I'm making a lot of assumptions here, hence the usage of the word "hope".