After yesterday’s reports that an Israeli tour company has struck a deal with North Korea for tourist visas and tour groups, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is warning Israelis against traveling to the isolated state.

Israel warns: Travel at your own risk

Israel warns: Travel at your own risk Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

As reported by JOL yesterday (Sunday), an Israeli travel agency has secured an exclusive deal to issue tourist visas to North Korea. However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Israelis against traveling to the country today (Monday). “The decision to visit North Korea is at each individual’s discretion and under his responsibility,” said the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“Given the recent reports on the subject, we would like to bring your attention to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s travel information regarding North Korea,” read the ministry’s statement. Although there are no warnings against travel to North Korea and no specific ban on traveling to the country, the Foreign Affairs Ministry recommended that Israeli citizens do not to travel to North Korea, “a country under extensive international sanctions.”

The ministry further emphasized that Israelis will be putting themselves at risk by traveling to North Korea. “Since Israel has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, in the event that an Israeli citizen will encounter any problems during his visit there, Israeli officials will be unable to help or give any solutions.”

North Korea is under UN-imposed sanctions and thus the ministry emphasized that visitors should be careful not to violate any UN policies, specifically regarding business and financial transactions with North Korean entities under sanction.

Tarbutu, a subsidiary of the Rimon Tours company, will offer tours this upcoming spring and summer to the isolated dictatorship. Yet, the travel agency stressed that tourism there has not been affected by the political-security situation in the country, which launched ballistic missiles this past Wednesday, provoking international outrage. “North Korea boasts about having one of the lowest crime rates in the world and tourists feel very safe,” Tarbutu said.

Israel's newest travel destination?

Israel’s newest travel destination? Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

In North Korea, cell phones and laptops can be used on local networks. However, Internet access is restricted to only local websites and any international communication can only be carried out from hotels. In addition, there are places where photography is forbidden, primarily for military purposes and for purchases, it is recommended that the traveler comes prepared with cash in advance as there are no ATMs or currency exchanges. However, only the US dollar, Euro and Chinese Yuan may be used by tourists.