Introduction:Pipa Tourist Hotel


Mr. Kang Chang Son and Mr. Kang Dae U (center, the front row) with hotel staff
at the front gate of a Pipa Tourist Hotel facility.

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Here is an article on the Pipa Tourist Hotel which started business on Aug. 7 in the Rajin-Sonbong Free Economic Trade Zone of the DPRK. The first joint venture hotel in the Rason Zone with overseas Koreans, was introduced by the Sangon Sinmun, a Tokyo-based vernacular business paper for resident Koreans.

Part of Pipa accommodation facilities. The empty space next to the houses is to be filled with sauna facilities.

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The Pipa Tourist Hotel with an area of 30,000 square meter has 150 guestrooms, with a restaurant capable of accommodating 150 people and recreation facilities such as Karaoke rooms.

Since some Korean businessmen in Kobe, Japan, struck a contract with local companies and inaugurated a board of directors in May last year, they have invested a total of $3.5 million in the costruction and management of the new hotel.

"Located at the heart of Northeast Asia and with non-freeze ports, the area will grow as a key trading hub in a long-range view,h said its board chairman Kang Chang Son.

"There is a large tourist potential, and they are mainly Koreans living in China.The area is gifted with beautiful scenery and fine beaches,h pointed out Kang Dae U, one of the board members. "Tourists will rapidly increase if a comfortable accommodation system is arranged.h

There are eight accommodation facilities in operation in the Zone. Pipa owners are proud of their low charges ($30-40 per night) which they believe are "highly competitiveh with their rivals. For example, Rajin Hotel, one of the frontier pioneers in this business, charges $60-160 per night.

Neighboring their buildings is a construction site of a five-star class hotel by the Hong-Kong-based Emperor Group at the cost of $180 million, which will open next spring with a casino club.

"We are not worried about our neighbor, because the target is different. However, we hope the emergence of a ritzy hotel boost the sightseeing business and investment in this region,h they said.

The seaside area attracted about 4,000 tourists last year.

According to local manager Kang Dae Ok, eight foreign businessmen are staying at the Pipa hotel at a three-month discount rate. He also said the hotel recently struck a deal with a Chinese travel agency to host a 100-people scale party every Saturday.

"The number of group reservations is increasing. I think the current 80 hotel staff is not sufficient to provide our best hospitality,h manager Kang happily said.h

By the end of the year 1996, a total sum of $37.3259 million had actually inflowed into the Rason Zone by 51 foreign businesses. The UNIDO, one of the sponsors of the Rason Project estimates the figure will increase to $150 million by the end of this year.

In a parallel development, the Rason authorities on June 1 liberalized the north Korean won to be exchanged at an unofficial exchange rate of 200 won to the dollar, and allowed private enterprises to sell surplus farm goods to service industry and for cross-border barter trade.

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