The websites of DPR Korea Tour and Air Koryo are drawing increasing attention as the South Korean government is considering permitting individual tourism to North Korea. At present, the South Korean government is blocking access to propagandistic North Korean website content while allowing access to touristic, cultural and academic content not in violation of the National Security Act.
The official website of DPR Korea Tour, which is run by the National Tourism Administration of North Korea, covers major tourist destinations, seasonal festivals and major travel agencies in the country along with how to get a visa. The website opened in 2017 is currently available in English, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Korean.
The website of the flag carrier is also accessible from South Korea. In addition, business and economy class tickets from, from example, Beijing to Pyongyang can be bought on the website. Also accessible from South Korea are North Korean cultural and academic websites and that of the Manmulsang online shopping mall.
Most websites run by the North Korean government are not accessible from South Korea. One typical example is Uriminzokkiri, which is a state-controlled website that provides news from North Korea’s Central News Agency. Still, those run by the North Korean government not in violation of the National Security Act are accessible. “Government departments related to the act request us to block access to North Korean websites potentially violating the law, and then we hold committee meetings to make determinations,” the Korea Communications Standards Commission explained, adding, “When it comes to DPR Korea Tour, no such request has been made since the opening in 2017.”
Back in May last year, Voice of America reported that the North Korean government was running at least 37 official websites in relation to government agencies, films, cooking, investment, and so on.