Bus tours to DMZ trail will start

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Bus tours to DMZ trail will start

The state-run tourism agency said Tuesday it will begin group bus tours to a trail along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas later this month at the eastern coastal town of Goseong.

The Korea Tourism Authority will accept applications for group bus tours to the first DMZ Peace Trail, to which only individual tourists have been allowed to travel since it was launched in April.

The group tours are expected to begin July 23, with up to 40 people, including individual participants, accepted each time.

The tour operator also said it will include a visit to a museum on the DMZ in a bid to increase participants’ satisfaction.

Anyone who wishes to organize a group tour is asked to access the agency’s website - www.dmzwalk.com - and select the group tour option and a date to travel on the trail.

Applicants also need to certify their identification using a cellphone and register a list of between four and 40 participants on the website.

The DMZ hiking trail’s launch was followed by the opening in June of the second one in the central border town of Cheorwon, Gangwon. The third and final trail along the DMZ is expected to open in the border city of Paju in September.

The DMZ trail project is part of the South Korean government’s efforts to have visitors experience inter-Korean peace and the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The DMZ - which is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) long and 4 kilometers wide - is one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders, with the rival Koreas technically in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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