3 Korean tour agencies -- seeking contact information
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 6, 2013 8:43 AM Last Post By: china1979
Sep 19, 2013 8:53 AM
3 Korean tour agencies -- seeking contact informationAs i understand, there are 3 Korean tour agencies and every foreign tour operator uses one of these 3 local Korean tour companies
(1) Korean International Travel Company
(2) Korean International Sports Travel Company
(3) Korean International Youth Travel Company
How about dealing with the local Korean-based travel companies directly (can use translate.google.com for translation) ?
I've done a few quick searches and did not locate contact info for the 3 Korean companies.
Anyone have contact info for these 3 companies?
Why to contact and deal with the local companies - several reasons:
(a) prices for these North Korea tours are dammmm expensive (even when doing a very short stay of a couple of days)
(b) none of the foreign tour operators could give the cost of the hotel and the required two tour guides and driver. Come on, surely they have some kind of idea of the price of hotel with breakfast, and if not, they should push a little harder on those 3 local Korean tour companies.
A 3 day/2 night tour is more than $US1,000 but let;s call it $1,000. So how much of this $1,000 is for hotel with breakfast, and how much do the guides+driver cost per day?
(c) probably what happens is.. from this $1,000 ticket price quoted to the traveler the foreign tour operator takes 25% or more (for their commission
Thanks for any help.
Sep 19, 2013 7:34 PM
1Even if you managed to book with one of the three Korean agencies you would pay an all inclusive price so the breakdown of the items is irrelevant. There have been instances where people have managed to book directly but I imagine all those old posts and contacts were deleted on the revamp. As I recall booking by yourself will not save you any significant amount of money (in fact it could be more expensive) and is for those people who have the time to enjoy the challenge.
Edited by: harju
Sep 19, 2013 11:26 PM
Sep 20, 2013 6:11 AM
i did do some searches, as i mentioned, for example the keywords and web-link is below
Korean International Travel Company + phone + email + contact
The search results, as you can see, are full of unrelated items , which is why i put the question in the forum.
Quite grateful to you if you could post a link to the results with current phone and email contact info -- many thanks
Sep 20, 2013 6:25 AM
There is relevancy in the breakdown of the cost -- there are "independent tours" which you can customize the things you do or see.
So, for example, IF IF IF , i said i want 3 days/2 nights and want to stay inside the hotel all the time, taking meals there, and not seeing monument X or graveyard Y, then what is the price ?
Basically, looking for an introduction to the country, at a fairly low cost ... for $1,000 can travel many SE Asia countries, clean/etc, and for quite a while longer than the 2 nights in NK.
Bhutan, which requires a minimum spend of $250 per day, is even more affordable!
These foreign travel agencies (British and German ... guess they are still thinking in British pounds or Euros from their home countries) must be earning some commission, which is understandable, but what percent of the $1,000 is it? Why is it a traveler's business ... because it increases the cost. Rather than generalities, it would be good to know an approximate range of the commission eg 30% to 40% or 25% to 30%).
Many thanks in advance for answers that are provided.
Sep 20, 2013 7:19 AM
5A google search revealed the following. I have no clue if they will be correct or helpful.
Here is an address from PATA: Korea International Travel Company Office in Beijing
DPRK Embassy in Beijing, Ritan Beila Road, Beijing, China (PRC)
Office: 1380/120 3380
Fax: 86 10 85763420
Here is from Lonely Planet: The main office of Ryohaengsa (+86-10-6437 6666/3133; fax 6436 9089; Korean International Travel Company, 2nd fl, Yanxiang, No A2 Jiangtai Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing.
There is this link with Pyongyang numbers although I have no clue if it would work. If you follow the links it gets to where you can send a request to the operators.
Let us know how it works out
Edited by: harju
Edited by: harju
Sep 20, 2013 8:04 AM
Yes, that address pops up in a search and so does the following which contains an email address .... and the email bounces back (ie, e-address is incorrect, changed, never existed, server changed, or who knows... but it does not work)
Dec 3, 2013 8:35 AM
7IMO, the tour costs are high but that's the way it is and knowing the cost allocation for hotel, guide, etc., is obviously not going to change anything. After all, the package prices are not negotiable.
The north Koreans know the going international rates or, at least, the rates in neighboring countries for 4-5 star hotels, and these rates form part of the basis for whatever it chooses to charge outside tourist agencies making arranagements with its own inhouse agency. So it really doesn't matter what the real cost of a room is. And, as an aside, we don't know what the true cost of a hotel room is in city X, do we?
Also, IMO, the north Korean govt through its own travel agency is making a nice profit on these tours because its costs are probably low--my guess, anyway. Why else would it bother?
Last, since tipping is not customary in south Korea (nor in China), why are tips given in DPRK? My guess is that it's one way the outside tour agencies maintain good relations with the guides/staff of its north Korean counterpart.
Dec 4, 2013 11:19 PM
8@China1979, u raise a good pt (who is responsible for the high costs?) and respond to ur other points
1. Cost is very relevant ... b/c if very high then u can choose not to go, or look for a lower cost alternative and understanding where the money goes can help potential customer ask intelligent and deeper questions to discern whether there is a better value option available (and whether they support the underlying methods/organizations/etc receiving the funds)
So, It's not the allocation of the cost per se.
2 Which party (NK gov't or "western" travel agencies) is causing the high prices, ie, profiting hugely?
(a) Korean gov't yes knows the prices in nearby countries for hotels and yes the value is lousy for the price u pay. Also Korean gov't only allows particular hotels. ok, those are known/not much u can do about them, but hotel is NOT the sole cause
(b) Western travel agency. Take the UK-led agencies, for example. UK office, paying UK rent (very high), salaries(way higher in Uk than China, or many Asian countries - UK labour ain;t cheap),; then they have a "more local"/on the ground partner and then there is the NK agencies (so extra layer or two in the process). So these UK agencies have bloated pig biz models ... and consumer pays for this . NFW do i knowingly pay for such bloated set-up.
(c) Example tour cost/situation from a "western" agency.... quoted me USA$1,000 for 3D/2nights and i was responsible on top of that for transport into and out of the capital city to China border. Day 1consisted of only arriving in Pyongyang in early evening, and day3 was departure rather soon after breakfast, so not much on days 1 and 3.
On blog i read hotel price in Pyongyang was USA$128 , and let's be conservative and call it USA$200 (to handle taxes or very expensive breakfast). So, $400 of the $1,000 goes to hotel and breakfast and that's solely due to following Korean gov't rule. Bloody dammmmm expensive price for the remainder ...and i don;t knowingly support such pig-bloated/greedy western agencies.
Seems like room for new entrants from nearby countries with much much much lower labour costs / less greed.
Dec 6, 2013 8:43 AM
9I think you've already concluded that the various tour prices are mostly due to "pig-bloated/greedy" agencies but especially the north Korean one. In other words, it's a closed market, not competitively priced, and you don't really get tourist "value" for your money. Bottom line: it's not worth it. Regardless, some, enough to keep the tours going, can afford it and are paying what's asked.
BTW, sure one hotel in Pyongyang charges $128 per night but this is, of course, not anything close to its real cost. It's an example of charging the going rate for so-called 4 or 5 star hotels. DPRK labor costs are very low and, according to blogs, the bkfsts are not so good (only expensive because that's again what the hotel can charge for it). I'm going to say only $100-200 goes for hotel costs. I'm also going to repeat myself and say this is a high profit business--and most of it goes to the Korean side.
Last, does anyone know if Chinese are asked to generously tip their north Korean guides?
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