In a bid to boost international tourism, the isolated country of North Korea is planning to reopen domestic flights for the first time in years to western visitors, local officials and business travelers, The Guardian reports.
“Regular flights like this have not been scheduled before – at least not in the six years we’ve been doing this,” said Troy Collings of Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based company that specializes in taking western tourists to North Korea.
Previously, the majority of tourists — mostly from China — had to travel from city to city via old Soviet-era planes or by rail, which could take up to two days. Now, Air Koryo, North Korea’s national airline, will start operating the flights again from mid-July.
Currently, flights are available from Pyongyang to Beijing, Shenyang and Vladivostok, Russia.
According to The Guardian, travel agencies estimate as many as 6,000 westerners visit North Korea each year. For North Koreans, however, they need to acquire a state-issued travel permit for domestic travel.