Once hailed as a symbol of peace between the two Koreas, the once popular hotel in the mountain resort of Kumgang is being dismantled.
Mount Kumgang or “Diamond” mountain is a place to preserve rare moments of reunion of families separated after years of separation in the two Koreas.
However, according to an official from the Ministry of Unification of Korea, recently decommissioning operations are taking place on Mount Kumgang, including the Haegumgang floating hotel, formerly known as the Four Seasons Barrier Reef Resort, the product of the passion of Doug Tarca, a professional diver and businessman of Italian descent, living in Townsville, on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia.
In 1988 the hotel was officially inaugurated. Photo: CNN
The hotel was officially inaugurated on March 9, 1988. Just a year later, however, Four Seasons Barrier Reef Resort was unable to last due to high operating costs and few visitors.
In 1989, this floating hotel began its journey of more than 5,400 km to Vietnam and was later renamed “Saigon Hotel” or “The Floater”. In 1998, The Floater also fell into financial exhaustion and was forced to close.
This hotel was later moved to Vietnam and is located right on the banks of the Saigon River. Photo: CNN
But instead of being dismantled, it was bought by North Korea to develop tourism in the Kumgang Mountains, a scenic spot near the border with South Korea. The Korean management company Hyundai Asan opened this hotel in October 2000.
Hyundai Asan spokesman Park Sung-uk once said, “Visits to Mount Kumgang play an important role in inter-Korean exchanges.”
This is considered a ‘reunification center’ for families separated from the two regions. Photo: CNN
In 2008, a North Korean soldier shot and killed a 53-year-old South Korean woman after she strayed beyond the boundaries of the Kumgang mountain tourist region and entered the territory of a military area. As a result, Hyundai Asan had to stop all tourist services and close the Haegumgang hotel.
The third route from this hotel is a seaport in the Kumgang Mountains in North Korea. Photo: CNN
In 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visited the Mount Kumgang tourist area and criticized the deterioration of facilities here, including the Haegumgang Hotel. He ordered the demolition of many buildings to carry out new reconstruction plans.
The first steps to demolish this work took place in April of this year and continue to this day.