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PATA task force to help North Korea
Pauline Tan, Singapore

Pauline Tan, Singapore  
(18th Sep 2003)

A FIVE-MAN task force from PATA arrived in Pyongyang yesterday on a seven-day mission to study North Korea's tourism potential and to make recommendations to its National Tourism Administration.

PATA president and CEO, Mr Peter de Jong, said it signalled “North Korea's apparent willingness to open its doors to the fastest growing industry in the fastest growing region of the world”. The development comes almost a decade after PATA first sent official representation to North Korea.

In 1994, after the PATA conference in Seoul, former Asia vice-president, Mr Renton de Alwis, undertook a five-day fact-finding mission to Pyongyang. Mr de Alwis, who is now executive director of Sustainable Development Consultants, told TTG Asia when contacted: “At that time, South Korea had an agenda to engage North Korea in the area of tourism. Even then, I was impressed by some infrastructure. The underground railway stations had an Eastern European grandeur. My trip ended with PATA inviting North Korea tourism authorities to come for the next conference in Auckland, and we offered to help them develop tourism by sending a task force. They were also offered membership, but although they were keen, the timing did not appear to be right for them at the time.”

The new task force will assess current and potential tourist attractions; development of tourism infrastructure; air access; destination branding; marketing; and policies affecting tourism.

Task force chairman, Mr Neil Plimmer, said: “Tourism here is in its early stages and we are working together with North Korea to look at ways to build the industry from the ground floor up. North Korea is rich in natural, historic and cultural attractions. The potential for tourism growth, with all its social and economic benefits, is high."

Other task force members are Mr Paul Casey, Mr Laurent Kuenzle, Mr Charles Leong, and PATA director, Mr K C Sim. Their findings will be available mid-November. To pre-order the Task Force report, contact PATA publications co-ordinator, Ms Patcharin Hongprapat. Tel: (66-2) 658-2000 extension 121, fax: (66-2) 658-2010, email:

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