Experts and officials from the culture and tourism sectors gathered in Seoul on Thursday to discuss ways to build peaceful tourism in the demilitarized zone.
The forum was held by the culture ministry and the Korea Tourism Organization as South and North take practical steps towards peace in the DMZ by removing landmines and guard posts.
The hope is that the DMZ will come to stand for togetherness and peace instead of pain and division.
Some of the programs suggested at the forum include joint tours of famous mountains in both Koreas, like Seoraksan in the South and Geumgangsan in the North. Also a train that would take passengers sightseeing along the east coast, and an ecology peace garden that would give visitors a peek at the region's untouched natural environment.
Some experts also emphasize the importance of tourism in building a virtuous cycle of sustainable peace and economic growth.
"Tourism is one of the two Koreas' major forms of economic exchange and cooperation that can sustain peace. Cooperation in tourism is usually accompanied by projects in logistics and infrastructure, and that will likely be a new engine for the economy."
Still, before peace tourism can move forward in earnest, there need to be major steps taken in terms of denuclearization and the lifting of sanctions.
But the experts think now is still the best time to discuss that possibility as South and North look to build their ties and cooperate in a range of fields.
Lee Min-sun, Arirang News.