First, our thoughts and prayers go out to Kenneth Bae and his family. All of us watching this situation can only imagine what they must be facing at a time like this.
Situations such as Kenneth Bae’s detention and sentencing naturally cause anxiety for Americans traveling to the DPRK. However, the arrest of Kenneth Bae is an extraordinary case. Thousands of tourists visit North Korea safely every year. As a tour operator that has over 10 years of experience in DPRK travel, we have taken almost 1,000 Americans to the DPRK without incident. We fully brief our travelers of the rules of tourism in North Korea. Because of this, we have never had any arrests or complications. We have never had a single traveler complain that their personal security was in jeopardy. We work with official state-run travel partners in the DPRK and we have had a long partnership and cooperation with them. We have seen that safety of tourists is the number one priority for them and our partner guides try to ensure that each traveler has a fun and fulfilling travel experience in their country.
Many Americans and westerners do not know that they can travel to North Korea. So many miss out on the unique opportunity that DPRK tourism affords – the opportunity to see a country in transition and to exchange our culture and ideas with the citizens of the world’s last frontier. Safety and security are a major concern for any traveler setting out to unknown parts and we take the safety of our travelers very seriously. We are in constant contact with our DPRK partners in Pyongyang as well as DPRK diplomats living here in the United States. We regularly touch base with western diplomats in the DPRK in times of crisis and we also communicate regularly with western agencies that are based in the DPRK. While we encourage all Americans to take their security seriously, we do not believe that the DPRK poses any threat to the western traveler. Our 10 years of DPRK travel experience and the safe journeys of over 1,000 of our American clients to the DPRK without incident, have given us the confidence that, while the volatility of the rhetoric between our countries ebbs and falls, there remains a safe, effective path for tourists wishing to travel to the DPRK.