This follows a similar temporary halt to all tour groups visiting Korea with Chinese tour companies.” Tour operators have not been told the reason behind the temporary halt in processing. “The reason for this freeze has not been given (frustrating we know, our partners are in the dark about it as well), but it is expected that at the end of this month the situation will be clear, applications will be unfrozen, and visas will be issued very quickly after that,” says the statement from Koryo Tours. Regent Holidays, which also runs DPRK packages, confirmed the news. A travel specialist tells The Independent: “It’s all extremely confused – even our partners in Pyongyang don’t seem to have an accurate grasp on what’s going on. They keep saying, don’t worry, everything’s going to work itself out, but they can’t or don’t feel able to tell us the reason behind what’s happening. “All the different operators seem to be being told slightly different things, so we’re all reading between the lines to determine what’s going on.” None of Regent Holidays’ clients have been affected by the processing pause, because trips are usually planned so far in advance. “It’s a long, drawn-out process to get a visa and you need all your bookings in place first,” says the travel specialist. “We generally get clients’ visas issued five to seven weeks before travel; the freeze will more likely affect budget Chinese travellers rather than European tourists.” The visa freeze is not politically motivated, according to Uri Tours, which organises DPRK trips. North Korea: A road trip on the edge of the Chinese border North Korea: A road trip on the edge of the Chinese border People have their picture taken with North Korea in the background, in Tumen, China. In the Chinese city of Dandong, signs of neighbouring North Korea are pervasive. A North Korean woman is photographed from the Chinese side of the Yalu River near the town of Changbai, China as she walks between houses in the North Korean town of Hyesan. A week-long road trip along China's side of its border with North Korea revealed stark contrasts between China's bright towns and North Korea's dark villages. North Korean souvenirs are displayed for sale on the banks of the Yalu River in Dandong in Liaoning province, China. In the Chinese city of Dandong, signs of neighbouring North Korea are pervasive.
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The East Asian nation hopes to see a 15 percent increase in Indonesian tourists by July next year, after seeing a 12 percent year-on-year rise in the number of visitors from the archipelago in the January-June period, according to South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Chang-beom. To do this, is slated to hold the Korea Travel Fair from Aug. 31 to Sep. 2 at Kota Kasablanka mall, South Jakarta, as well as a series of performances coinciding on Aug. 31 to Sep. 1 at the Korea Themed Tourism Festival at Ciputra Artpreneur, Lotte Shopping Avenue shopping complex in Kuningan, South Jakarta. Organized by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Jakarta Office, the series of events aims to reveal a different side of the country. In addition to hosting music performances, the travel fair and festival are also set to highlight traditional and culinary destinations, with local South Korean tourism organizations from Seoul, Busan and Gyeonggi also participating. "This is another way of introducing the South Korean charms and merits of South Korean tourism to Indonesia,” Kim told a press conference in Jakarta on Monday. The ambassador noted that the country was also welcoming more solo travelers from Indonesia in recent years. “In the past, we’ve mostly received groups of tourists and now, more than 50 percent are tourists who travel alone," Kim said. He added that the South Korean Embassy in Jakarta continues to advance its facilities to accelerate the visa issuing processes, noting that multiple tourist visas and group tour visas are now being issued each day. "Hopefully, we will be able to set up our visa center early next year.