North Korea’s ‘Six Star’ Hotel Ryanggang Hotel Slaughtered On TripAdvisor

Kim Jong-un is on a relentless drive to attract tourists and much needed foreign currency – to North Korea.12

So it will have no doubt gone down like a lead balloon to see one of the country s top hotels mauled on TripAdvisor.3

Pyongyang s first class 4 Ryanggang Hotel has been pelted with a series of scathing reviews, revealing the sad truth behind what impoverished locals proudly describe as a six-star 5 dwelling.

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Old and cold , was one allegation, while one visitor from Germany wrote: Horrible place, but I guess still on the upper side of NK hospitality. Beds are wooden plates with a cushion on it. Warm water in the morning and evening for an hour each. No fruits available, but that s for most of the country. Another tourist from Abu Dhabi branded it a Soviet retro hotel , reporting: Concrete, cold water showers, rock hard beds and power cuts are all to be expected at this Soviet retro hotel. Think of it as a form of military training and you ll love it. None of the light switches worked and what was that crazy broken enigma machine between the beds?

Loved the DPRK and this hotel fitted in perfectly. Would recommend it for an authentic DPRK experience. A series of images showing dark, dank corridoors, stained tablecloths and filthy bathrooms have also been uploaded.

Given Kim s predilection for sentencing to death mostly anyone who fails to deliver his vision (including the manager of a fish farm6 who was executed after a number of baby terrapins died, and an official who made the grave error of falling asleep7 during a meeting with the Dear Leader,) the poor reviews are bound to be of concern for the current hotel staff. Remarks upon the scarcity of delicacies such a fruit and eggs at the breakfast table are unsurprising in a country with a population of 24 million people facing chronic food shortages. According to a United Nations report, nearly a third of children under the age of five showed signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas and there have even been rumours of some famine-stricken North Koreans being forced into cannibalism.8

This is in contrast to the Kim s import of luxury goods9 including alcohol and watches which totaled $645.86 million in 2012 alone.

There are just eight hotels open to foreigners, all of whom must travel via China, in Pyongyang.

Last year the leader of the rogue state expressed his wish to attract ten times as many tourists to the country by 2017.10

There are currently 100,000 tourists visiting per year, but if Kim s plan succeeds, that figure will reach one million by next year, and two million by 2020.


  1. ^ Kim Jong-un (
  2. ^ North Korea. (
  3. ^ mauled on TripAdvisor. (
  4. ^ first class (
  5. ^ six-star (
  6. ^ the manager of a fish farm (
  7. ^ an official who made the grave error of falling asleep (
  8. ^ there have even been rumours of some famine-stricken North Koreans being forced into cannibalism. (
  9. ^ luxury goods (
  10. ^ to attract ten times as many tourists to the country by 2017. (

A turn-up for the bookings

A Turn-up For The Bookings

WHEN many people think of tour operators in Europe, an ailing industry selling tacky package holidays comes to mind. The number of European tourists buying deals bundling accommodation and transport has fallen by a quarter since demand peaked in the early 2000s. But the past year has looked particularly bad. Since last summer, shares in TUI, Europe s largest tour operator, have fallen by a third, and at Thomas Cook, its rival in second place, in half. Terror attacks and military coups in Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey dented bookings in these once-profitable places, while a sudden fall in bookings after Brexit forced Thomas Cook to issue a profit warning last month. Cashflow problems abound at smaller outfits. One Spanish firm, lowcostholidays, went bust last month stranding 27,000 holidaymakers abroad.

Yet the woes of the industry, often portrayed as dinosaurs limping to extinction, conceal an industry that is much more resilient than it is often thought. On August 12th, TUI announced better than expected results for the three months to the end of June, sending its shares up by around 5%. Although a tenth of its customers changed their travel plans due to security concerns over the last year, TUI has seen no change in booking patterns since Britain voted for Brexit in June, said Fritz Joussen, its CEO. The industry s underlying woes are more the result of poor business decisions in the past than a change in consumer tastes away from package holidays, says Stuart Gordon, an industry analyst at Berenberg, a bank. It is cheaper to buy a family Discount Holidays © holiday through one of TUI or Thomas Cook s brands as a package than book the components individually, due to the economies of scale they can negotiate. Over 40m still do each year; and there is no sign yet that young people are less likely to buy them than previous generations.

The problem is that they were loaded up with too much debt in the 2000s, and are saddled with the costs of shutting down shops whose customers have been tempted away by their websites. That has resulted in $5 billion of write-downs at TUI and Thomas Cook since 2008, wiping out their profits over that period. In order to be less vulnerable during future slowdowns and boost their margins, they should close down these stores faster and reduce the amount on debt on their balance sheets, Mr Gordon suggests. Those problems have obscured relatively good prospects for the industry. Although tour operators were hit hard by the advent of LCCs in 1990s which encouraged people to book their own flights and hotels the market for packaged trips in Europe is expanding again. It may rise more than 10% by 2020 forecasts Mintel, a market-research firm.

That is partly because the rising terror risk will encourage more people to book through a travel agent, to ensure they are looked after if their Discount Holidays © holiday goes wrong, claims Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook s CEO. And in spite of the rise of online travel agents such as Expedia, TUI and Thomas Cook have increased their share of the total European Discount Holidays © holiday market since the financial crisis. Yet the real growth opportunity for traditional tour operators lies in selling European holidays to the rapidly-growing Chinese market. Mr Joussen at TUI revealed big eastern expansion plans in February, while Thomas Cook launched a joint-venture in China last year. But whether Chinese tourists are really interested in Europe s sun and sandy beaches remains to be seen.

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Australian tourist reported missing

Australian Tourist Reported Missing


Australian tourist Daniel Perry, 23, has been reported missing in the Queenstown area. An Australian tourist has been reported missing after wandering off from his friends near Queenstown. Police are trying to find Daniel Perry, 23, after he was last seen near the Gibbston Tavern, in the Gibbston Valley, about 4pm on Thursday.

Perry reportedly wandered off from his group of friends, and they were unable to find him. In a statement, police said Perry was known to hitchhike and it was possible he had been picked up on the Gibbston Highway (State Highway 6). Perry was described as European, with shoulder-length ginger hair and blue eyes.

He was wearing black denim jeans with ripped knees, and a brown jacket with a yellow and black striped T-shirt underneath.

Anyone who saw someone fitting Perry’s description in the Central Otago area on Thursday was asked to call Queenstown police on 03 411 1600, or the Southern District Command Centre on 03 471 5002.

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