North Korean officials sentenced the 21-year-old American on Wednesday to 15 years of prison and hard labor for attempting to steal a sign from his hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea during a guided trip.
And while North Korea attempts to assert its modernity through encouraging surf and snow tourism, Warmbier’s plight serves as a reminder that: “Oh yeah, this is still North Korea.
Last December, Kim Jong-un invited three of the world’s top snowboarders, Terje Haakonsen, Dan Liedahl, and Mike Ravelson to tour the country’s $35 million ski resort, Masik Pass. Fearing anti-U. S. sentiment after a hydrogen bomb test, the trio later cancelled their trip.
So how does North Korea expect to encourage tourism, while striking the fear of God into potential visitors? Time will tell.
Otto Warmbier’s sentencing is just the latest in a string of highly politicized actions that only isolate North Korea further from the rest of the world.
Companies like Uri Tours offer guided tours of the beaches of North Korea, and newly constructed beach resorts are doing their best to attract new tourists.
Read more here: The Inertia