According to several groups who lead tours in North Korea, the Hermit Kingdom is locking itself up even tighter due to Ebola fears.
"We have just been informed by our partners in North Korea that tomorrow North Korea will stop accepting international tourists due to the threat of the Ebola virus, effectively closing its borders," Koryo Tours repeated on its Facebook page.
Likewise, tour group Young Pioneer Tours said on its website that they had "received news from our travel partners in North Korea that as of tomorrow (24th October 2014) tourists from any countries, regardless of where they have recently visited, will be temporarily suspended from entering North Korea as a strict measure of protection against the recent Ebola outbreak in the world."
Young Pioneer Tours also noted that it was awaiting direct confirmation from Pyongyang. As of this article's publication, there has been no official statement post to the state-run KCNA's English-language website.
Tourism, while increasing in recent years, has never been a strong suit for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's economy. The government has strict controls over just who can enter the country — even without Ebola concerns — and has previously arrested Western tourists for alleged crimes committed within the country. One such tourist, American citizen Jeffrey Fowle, was recently released after being detained since May.
According to the head of one tour company operating in North Korea, an estimated 4,500 Westerners visited North Korea last year. Some estimate that number may be as high as 6,000. It is unclear how the latest preventative measure will affect those numbers.
H/T New York Times
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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