- Title: North Korea tour operator says upcoming U.S. travel ban not a 'surprise'
- Date: 25th July 2017
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MANAGER AT KORYO TOURS, SIMON COCKERELL, SAYING: "On Friday (July 21) afternoon we were called by telephone by the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to inform us that they had been told that this ban was going to be put in place. So that they'd been asked to inform all of the American tourists currently in the country, and those who are going soon, about this ban and to direct them to read the U.S. State Department's travel warning, which we tell them to read anyway, and to make their choices based on the information being given. So we informed all of our American clients of this from that point on." PHOTOS ON WHITEBOARD (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MANAGER AT KORYO TOURS, SIMON COCKERELL, SAYING: "So the market itself has been limiting the number of Americans going, so this big step brings that market down to zero Americans, of course. I'd question whether it is entirely necessary to stop independent thinking people from doing something of their choice, but like I have said before, I think it is clear, that yeah, if no Americans go to North Korea, no Americans can get in trouble in North Korea." POSTER FOR PYONGYANG MARATHON (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MANAGER AT KORYO TOURS, SIMON COCKERELL, SAYING: "We called and spoke to our partners there and informed them when we were told, and we told them look, if you've got any Americans visiting with other companies, you should tell them about this, and they were surprised, but they weren't blown away, they weren't shocked. I think they were resigned. Because it's unfortunate for them because this is how they make money individually as well as a company, and people working in tourism, it's their mandate and their responsibility to host guests, and this will of course reduce the number of guests that they have."
- Embargoed: 8th August 2017 11:03
- Keywords: North Korea Koryo tours U.S. travel ban Otto Warmbier US bans travel to North Korea travelling to North Korea
- Location: BEIJING, CHINA/PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA
- City: BEIJING, CHINA/PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA
- Country: China
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0036R7T6BR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A tour agency that arranges trips to North Korea confirmed on Tuesday (July 25) they had been informed the U.S. government will soon ban its citizens from travelling there, after the death of a U.S. student who was jailed in the isolated country while on a tour last year.
Beijing-based Koryo Tours said the ban had not been a surprise to their partners, and that it would be announced on July 27 before going into effect 30 days later. They said the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which handles consular affairs for the United States in the North, had informed them of the ban.
Koryo Tours General Manager Simon Cockrell said that after the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who had visited North Korea on a tour with Young Pioneer Tours, the market for U.S. tourists was already "limited", but that this ban will bring the number of Americans to "zero" and undoubtedly have an impact on the market.
He added that any U.S. citizen who visits North Korea while the ban is in effect without special permission from the U.S. government is subject to having their passport cancelled. The isolated state allows foreign tourists to visit but their travel is strictly limited.
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