x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

On a slippery slope

Where would you prefer to spend your Eid holiday – in Somaliland, Chernobyl or a snowless North Korean ski resort?

Fancy slipping away to northern Somalia for a few days over the holiday period? Or would you prefer a vacation in Chernobyl? No? Then the chances are you are unlikely to get enthused about the opening of North Korea’s new ski resort.

But given that both Somaliland, the unrecognised breakaway northern province of Somalia, and still-radioactive Chernobyl both have official tourism offices, the prospects for Masik Pass ski resort ought not to be rejected quite so lightly.

North Korea does, however, have some relative advantages.

In Somaliland, travel outside of the provincial capital Hargeisa requires being escorted by a soldier armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, although this is a bargain at $20 (Dh72) a day – and they even give a receipt.

In Chernobyl, travel to the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster also requires an escort, albeit armed with a radiation counter rather than an automatic weapon.

In Masik Pass, which officially opened this week, there is not yet any snow but then again neither is there much prospect of being attacked by militants, or irradiated. Maybe that should be their slogan.