Despite Political Situation Americans Travel To North Korea
Why would anyone want to vacation in North Korea?
That's the question being asked by many Americans after watching a disturbing video of an 85-year-old grandfather who was forced to confess to his so-called "crimes." Merrill Newman, of Palo Alto, California went on a 10-day tour of the hermit kingdom. But he was dragged off the plane when he tried to return home.
Believe it or not, between three and four thousand western tourists visit North Korea each year, where posters depict the USA as an evil power. John Dantzler-Wolfe and Andrea Lee organize North Korean vacations for Americans.
So, who on Earth is going?
Dantzler-Wolfe told INSIDE EDITION, "We have a lot of students, a lot of adventure travelers, scholars, policy thinkers. Sometimes families like to travel together."
Basketball wild man Dennis Rodman infamously went to North Korea last March for the show Vice on HBO. Rodman and his group were taken on a propaganda tour of the country, with government handlers always watching closely. There he is attending a basketball game with mysterious boy dictator, Kim Jong-un.
Another American tourist on a beer-drinking tour recently shot home video of North Koreans dancing on a beach. Tourist videos show a cheerleading competition and a skateboard park.
Of course, all the American tourists are strictly chaperoned. They never see the mass starvation and grinding poverty that plague North Korea. A satellite photo shows North Korea, dark from lack of electricity, while prosperous South Korea is ablaze with light.
INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent Skyped with Eric Hill, an adventure-seeker who has traveled to North Korea.
Trent asked, "Knowing what you know about this 85-year-old grandfather, would you go back to North Korea?"
Hill said, "Knowing what I know now about this 85-year-old grandfather, yes, I would go back to North Korea. I felt safe enough that I would go back."