North Korea to reopen for tourism after sealing borders over Ebola fears
By RYAN GORMAN
Pack your bags, North Korea is set reopen its borders next year to tourists.
The country previously shuttered itself to outsiders over Ebola fears, but they appear to have eased. Tour operators in the region have been told the Pyongyang Marathon, in April, is open to foreigners.
The reclusive regime closed shop two months ago at the height of the Ebola epidemic despite not having a single person infected with the disease within its borders.
Koryo Tours, which shepherds foreign visitors around the hermit kingdom, confirmed to BNO News that foreigners will be permitted in the April 12 race for only the second time, ever.
"[We] have been in lengthy discussions with our partners in Pyongyang to reach an agreement that those booked through our company should be cleared for entry into North Korea," Koryo Tours founder Nick Bonner told BNO.
"The information we currently have from our contacts is that this temporary suspension of tours to North Korea will be lifted at some point during the first quarter of 2015, and certainly in time for the Pyongyang Marathon of 12 April 2015."
The North appears to be gearing up for the expected influx of foreign visitors with cash to spend by launching a bizarre tourism website.
It features lists of things "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Un likes, weather, maps and galleries showing images of hauntingly empty attractions.
Other galleries show North Korean children playing and appearing to enjoy themselves.
But the tourist site's main attractions are a series of bizarre videos showing off these sites, but also sporting events, fireworks, concerts and a missile launch.
"The <Pyongyang Moranbong Editorial Bureau> Has newly opened the homepage <Korea Today> to show the creative efforts of the Korean people for better future, their worthwhile and optimistic life and great changes in Korea," reads a caption to one of the videos.
Images of people in an amusement park are in the background of the caption.
'We sincerely hope for your deep concern and warm support," reads the closing caption.
Those not yet sold on a trip to North Korea will surely have their mind changed by this story on the site about "Azalea" brand socks, which are made in Pyongyang and have "received rave reviews."
AOL News could not immediately reach local officials to confirm if there are tours of the highly-acclaimed sock factory.
A special flight aboard Koryo Air, the North's official – and only – airline, will include a handful of slots for foreigners, Bonner told to BNO.
Act fast, those seats will not be available for very long.
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