Posted November 12, 2018 05:17:16 North Korea’s tourism industry suffered its biggest single-day drop in sales for a year as tourists stopped attending the country’s official tours and stopped coming to Pyongyang for business trips.
In October, visitors from North Korea accounted for only 2.4 percent of total North Korean visits.
On Wednesday, the number fell to 1.9 percent, the Korea Tourism Organization said in a statement.
Pyongyang is the only major country outside China and Japan that does not have a formal tourism industry.
The decline comes despite a flurry of new visits by North Koreans this year, including more than 1.3 million Chinese tourists, the government said.
Tourism has been a key component of the regime’s economic growth and development, and is seen as a vital pillar of the government’s economic lifeline.
“The tourism industry has not recovered from its devastating impact on the economic growth of North Korea,” the KTO said in its statement.
North Korea also cut back on its official media and the government-run media, including the official Korean Central News Agency, citing “severe weather conditions.”
The country also suspended its “publicity tours” and limited the amount of free time available for the public to attend official events.
North Korean state media reported that a state-owned airline is considering shutting down its operations in the country.
The North Korean government has imposed strict restrictions on travel to the country since it began enforcing the so-called “no-go” travel policy in October after the country started producing and selling goods and services.
The policy bans foreign visitors and the sale of goods to foreigners and prohibits the importation of most North Korean goods and goods of North Korean origin.