Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: U.S. travel ban on North Korea comes into effect starting from Sept 1, 2017. U.S. citizens, except for humanitarian works and journalists who can apply for exemptions, are prohibited from traveling to the country for a period of one year. Reuters interviewed the last group of American tourists who just completed their trips as they got ready to return home. Some fear that the ban will jeopardize their ongoing humanitarian work, while others criticize the ban and express intention to return.

08/31/2017 Beijing (Reuters) – American tourist Nicholas Burkhead said he’d be happy to return to his latest holiday destination, with its beautiful scenery, great food and friendly people.

The problem is, the destination was North Korea and a U.S. State Department ban on travel to the isolated country takes effect on Friday.

Burkhead, a 35-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was among the last American tourists to leave North Korea, landing on Thursday in Beijing.

“I was surprised at how friendly everyone was,” Burkhead said after stepping off the last scheduled flight to Beijing from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, before the U.S. travel ban kicks in.

“It was very relaxing – beautiful scenery and they fed us very well in the restaurants there, but the exchange rate wasn’t too good for the local won,” he told a waiting scrum of reporters.

Burkhead arrived in Beijing on North Korea’s state-owned Air Koryo after visiting Pyongyang as well as the city of Kaesong near the heavily armed border with South Korea. His five-day tour cost 1,850 euros ($2,200).

Other Americans on the flight included two aid workers as well as Jamie Banfill, 32, who had led tours to North Korea but was visiting this time as a tourist.

Banfill, who had made the trip to say goodbyes after regularly traveling to the North for a decade, said the travel ban short-sighted.

[Full Story]