North Korea began operations of a new spa resort in the country's central region Friday, according to state media, as Pyongyang pushes to attract more foreign tourists in the face of global sanctions crippling its economy.
The construction of the Yangdok spa resort in the North's South Pyongan Province was completed last month, which the North's leader Kim Jong-un described as a demonstration of "steady development and prosperity" achieved by the country despite "the worst adversity."
"Visitors will receive various services that combine both treatment and relaxation ... at the Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center," the North's state radio said the previous day.
Kim visited the spa resort multiple times last year, highlighting his strong determination to build a competitive tourism industry.
The radio station also said Masikryong Ski Resort, located on the outskirts of the eastern city of Wonsan, began receiving tourists for this year on Wednesday. The ski resort opened in December 2013 as one of the pet projects of the leader, who is known to like skiing.
In October, North Korea demanded South Korea tear down all the facilities it built at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's east coast in an apparent threat to end their joint tour project, saying it will build a new international tourist destination of its own.
North Korea is building a new tourist zone in the Wonsan-Kalma region on the east coast, with the construction expected to wrap up in April by the birthday of late state founder and Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung. (Yonhap)