Runners pass under a pedestrian bridge during the running of the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon in Pyongyang, North Korea on April 13, 2014.
David Guttenfelder—AP
March 6, 2015 8:33 AM EST

Overseas runners will be allowed to participate in North Korea’s 2015 Pyongyang Marathon after the country reversed a ban on most foreigners entering the country.

Koryo Tours, a British tourism company based in Beijing, sent an email on Thursday stating that tourist applications for the April 12 race would be accepted, according to The New York Times. North Korea had imposed extensive restrictions on travel in October amid fears of the Ebola virus arriving in the isolated nation, which nullified the participation of international runners.

The country’s tourist industry is mainly fueled by visitors from China and Russia, but also a growing number of Westerners. Under the ban, only foreign aid workers and diplomats were given entry into the country — and were required to undergo a 21-day quarantine, according to Reuters.

North Korea is eager to boost its tourist industry, recently establishing its first luxury ski resort and opening up the marathon to recreational runners from abroad for the first time last year.

[NYT]

Write to Naina Bajekal at naina.bajekal@time.com.

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