TRAVEL
01/08/2013 01:20 pm ET | Updated Jan 08, 2013

Eric Schmidt's North Korea Visit Raises Tourism Questions (VIDEO)

Eric Schmidt's decision to tour North Korea has raised questions about the future of the reclusive country's tourism industry.

"It used to be for ex-POTUSes only," said HuffPost Live's James Poulos of visits to North Korea. "It's interesting that this is broadening out."

Indeed more visitors are landing in Pyongyang, as restrictions on international tourists have softened in recent years.

"They are visiting as private citizens, and we are allowed as Americans to travel to North Korea," Richard Bangs, the founder of Mountain Travel Sobek, said on HuffPost Live. "I went last September with 23 people and toured the country."

Bangs later wrote about the fascinating trip for HuffPost Travel.

"I don't think we made any monumental discoveries or moved the needle in any meaningful way," Bangs continued. "I do think visits like this begin to chip away at the wall, so to speak."

As to what the high-profile visitors might actually see in North Korea? Creator of The North Korea Blog, Gabriel Mizrahi, had a couple ideas.

"They might show [Schmidt] a 1980s Soviet data center, they might take him around to some of their 'cutting-edge' early Javascript engineers," Mizrahi joked on HuffPost Live.

Maybe he could sneak a peek at the Ryugyong Hotel?

EARLIER ON HUFFPOST:

Inside North Korea And The Pyramid Hotel
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