Aussie travellers are going where?!

Pushpin marking on Pyongyang, North Korea map

Some people like luxury travelling, others like glamping.

And, quite a few like adventurous travel, though we feel that the latest hot destination for Aussies may be less adventure and more ‘living on the edge, thrill-seeking’ travel.

So what is the incredibly dangerous place us Aussies are thirsting to get to?

None other than the home of Kim Jong-un’s homeland, North Korea.

According to new data from Allianz Global Assistance, there has been a somewhat surprising increase in Australian travellers choosing to visit North Korea, compared to other traditional hotspots like Thailand, Spain or France.

With the Winter Olympics kicking off today, the news couldn’t be more timely.

More than 200,000 visitors are expected in South Korea’s Pyeongchang county for the Olympics and Allianz Global Assistance has found some intriguing patterns in Aussie travellers visiting in the region.

According to the data, there has been a staggering 286 percent increase in Aussies taking out travel policies to visit North Korea since 2015 and a 213 percent increase for South Korea, suggesting that Australian travellers are increasingly favouring an unusual travel itinerary.

Whilst more Aussie travellers visit the likes of tourist hotspots, Japan, France, Spain and Thailand, and whose countries have also increased in popularity over the last three years with more policies being taken out year on year, it’s nothing to the extent of the soaring rise of interest Korea has seen:

    • Japan (195 percent increase)
    • Spain (160 percent increase)
    • Thailand (146 percent increase)
    • France (103 percent increase)

Speaking about the findings Allianz Global Assistance Chief Sales Officer Brad Smith said: “Korea is an exciting and exotic destination.

“However, with the current economic climate, we urge all travellers to take extra precaution and read up on the country’s laws and regulations before departure and always check the most up to date advice on the Australian Government Smart Traveller website.

“It’s especially important that once a customer has purchased travel insurance cover, they read their policy ahead of time to understand what they are and are not covered for.

“If unsure, we suggest that travellers call their travel insurance provider to discuss.”

Simon Bell, Travel Head of Sales for STA, which is an AGA partner, recently travelled to North Korea and had this to say about why there appears to be a notable increase in interest for the Korean Peninsula.

“North Korea’s isolation and secrecy had always fascinated me.”

“I’ve watched many documentaries and read countless books on the country and the recent increase in tensions over missiles had me wondering if it was a case of now or never to see this country before there’s change on the peninsula.”

“While in North Korea, fellow travellers also commented that this was a similar motivation for them to see the country at the time, albeit somewhat concerned about impending missile launches!”

“Once you’ve been to North Korea, you see and hear so much propaganda about the South that travel to South Korea to sort fact from fiction becomes the next destination on your travel list!”

So there you have it, folks, why watch North Korea’s military parades online when you can go see them in the flesh, with a bunch of other nervous travellers.

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