North Korea to Build Underwater Hotel
North Korea plans to build an underwater hotel in the east coast city of Wonsan as part of its plans to boost tourism in the city. Local media reports the development will include international exposition halls, a stadium as well as towers and other modern buildings.
No details have been revealed yet about the underwater hotel, but investment in leisure and tourist facilities seems to be becoming a hallmark of Kim Jong Un’s leadership despite claims that it is the last thing that the hungry people of North Korea need. Last year, World Food Program (WFP) executive director Ertharin Cousin told reporters in Seoul that the viability of North Korea programs was being threatened due to a “critical” lack of funding.
NK News reports that Leonid Petrov, a researcher at the Australian National University, highlights the contradictory nature of the development when North Korea has been arresting greater numbers of foreign visitors than ever before.
“Underwater hotels are the most suitable form of tourist accommodation for North Korea, said Petrov. “As a foreign tourist you won’t be able to escape. You will not be able to see anything that happens outside of your hotel room or sneak a photo from your window. Keeping foreign guests in aquariums is (therefore) a perfect Orwellian solution for isolating them from the locals while maximizing cash revenue.”
Given the costly nature of underwater hotel projects, says NK News, it remains to be seen how North Korea will finance construction of the hotel at Wonsan. The use of tens of thousands of soldiers to build the recently completed Masikryong ski resort might provide the answer.