North Korea is not a popular tourist destination, probably due to its harsh regime and a poor human rights record. Limited information is known about the secretive country, and most people are unable to identify it on a global map. Nevertheless, North Korea is one of the few countries that has been able to safeguard and protect its natural environment from degradation. Apart from is vast and dense forests, North Korea has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In 2018, US President Donald Trump acknowledged that the Asian country has a coastline to be envied. Despite the beautiful coast, beaches are underdeveloped due to limited economic resources and low tourist population. North Korea receives about 100,000 tourists annually, most of whom are from China. The Communist system deters local and foreign investors from investing in key infrastructure along the coast.
Wonsan-Kalma Beach Resort
By January 2019, a large beach resort built by the government along the southeast coast was nearing completion. The Wonsan-Kalma beach resort features a marina, sports complex, water slides, and hotels. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the cites several times during its construction. In November 2018, Kim ordered the addition of more cinemas, games arcades, a water park, and funfair. Once completed, Wonsan-Kalma will be the largest beach resort in the country and is expected to boost tourism. The Wonsan Zone Development Corporation announced plans to build the resort and invited potential investors to take part in the funding. In 2015 North Korea upgraded the Wonsan-Kalma Airport for civilian use and international flights. Five years on, it is used for domestic flights but is yet to open its doors to international flights. The tourist zone was initially used to launch ballistic missiles. North Korea hopes to attract over 10 million tourists annually in the foreseeable future by developing infrastructure, relaxing its stringent laws, and mending its relations with the West.
Other Beaches in North Korea
Before the development of Wonsan-Kalma, Rason beach was the jewel of beaches in the country. The exclusive economic zone offers tourists a chance to enjoy cheap seafood and engage in scuba diving. The Majon Hotel in the country's second-largest city Hamhung has a private beach that is popular with non-governmental organizations. It is a shame that the site is not popular among tourists since it is one of the most serene in the country. The beach in Nampo is perhaps the best on the west coast. Chongjin beach is famous for its cheap seafood and native cuisine. Chilbo beach is renowned for its mountainous terrain. It is also the only place in the country with a North Korean version of Airbnb.