The news emerged this week that Young Pioneer Tours’ founder and co-owner, Troy Collings, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 33. His loss has sent shockwaves not just through the YPT family, but also the broader North Korean travel industry as a whole who held great esteem and respect for his work.
Troy along with Gareth Johnson founded YPT in 2008. His vision was to make travelling to the DPRK viable for younger people on smaller budgets, offering a fun, insightful but nevertheless a wholesome experience within the country. Troy had been touched by his early experiences visiting the DPRK, and believed passionately that it was through travel and engagement that could open Pyongyang up to the world, breaking down barriers and longstanding political hostilities. He made this his life, and in the process created a successful company, a reputable brand name and a worldwide customer base.
He leaves behind not only a young family in New Zealand, but many people who considered him a friend, colleague and Mentor. His wisdom, guidance and down to Earth personality will be truly missed. For one to be lost so young and so unexpectedly is a tragedy, but in no case will Troy’s work, legacy and mission be forgotten. Troy was a true pioneer, and Visit North Korea under the parent company of YPT can only express sincere gratitude, appreciation and respect for what his work has since allowed us to achieve.
Rest in peace Troy.