Famously reclusive North Korea launched a new website on Monday aimed at promoting tourism in the country, despite recently closing its borders to international tourists over Ebola fears. It's not clear if the website, which highlights the country's attractions in Korean, would support English or other languages, reports said.
The website, which reportedly offers flight schedules from Beijing, Vladivostok and other foreign cities, also showcases a strange selection of photos ostensibly designed to highlight the country's main tourist attractions. Among the images are those of a pyramid-themed water park, rocket missiles and a dog. Visitors to Pyongyang are typically given a conducted tour tightly overseen by government-appointed guides designed to present the best face of the nation, which is known to have one of the worst human rights records in the world.
“The Pyongyang Moranbong Editorial Bureau has newly opened the homepage (Korea Today) to show the creative efforts of the Korean people for better future, their worthwhile and optimistic life and great changes in Korea. We sincerely hope for your deepest concern and warm support,” the English subtitles on the website said, according to The Telegraph.
There are also videos on the website, including ones with the country’s football team and athletes, skiers at the Masikryong resort, dolphins leaping out of a pool, as well as participants in the Arirang mass games, The Telegraph reported. However, the Guardian complained that the website did not load properly.
Before placing a ban on the entry of international tourists into the country, following the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the country had made efforts to attract more foreign visitors to North Korea, including building a huge ski resort in 10 months to attract them, the Huffington Post reported.
Hong Sun Gwang, vice president of North Korea's State Sanitary Inspection Board, had claimed in the state-run Korean Central News Agency last week, that the U.S. was behind the spread of Ebola across the world because it had "developed a progenitor of Ebola virus at bio-weapon institutes built in West African countries for the purpose of launching a biological warfare." Hong cited "an aide to ex-U.S. President Reagan" as having made the disclosure in an article, the Washington Post reported.
South Korean state-run news portal Yonhap reported, citing North Korean media, that the website was designed to "satisfy growing interest and expectation" over the nation.