Tourist Association recommends Kazakhstan residents to stay away from Issyk-Kul because of plague outbreak 06 сентября 2013, 16:55
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Issyk-Kul lake. ©tengrinews.kz
Kazakhstan residents are not recommended to visit Issyk-Kul lake resorts in Kyrgyzstan because of the bubonic plague outbreak, Tengrinews.kz reports citing executive director of Kazakhstan Tourist Association (KTA) Rashida Shaikenova as saying.
She said that KTA received an official letter from the Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry saying that the border with Kyrgyzstan may be closed. Akim (Governor) of Zhambyl oblast bordering on Kyrgyzstan mentioned this possibility as well. The regional authorities are planning to take all measures to prevent the disease from spilling into Kazakhstan.
“We received a letter. The Healthcare Ministry advises against going to Kyrgyzstan because of the epidemic. We also think that it is better to abstain from traveling to Issyk-Kul. But, I would like to note that there is a good number of tourists who organize their trips independently: get there by cars, buses or planes. They normally don’t book hotels and live in rented apartments. So there is no objective statistics on the number of Kazakhstan residents traveling to Kyrgyzstan,” Shaikenova said. “Tourist companies warn their clients against going and tell them about the consequences of trips to Issyk-Kul, but people make their own decisions.”
She believes that the situation with the bubonic plague should not have much effect on the market, as the Issyk-Kul vacation season is almost over. But tourist companies are still arranging corporate trips and parties in the end of the season offering good prices. Shaikenova advises to make sure that contracts with tourist agencies have a money back clause for the case of plague outbreak.
There has been a positive dynamics in the number of trips to Issyk-Kul made by Kazakhstan tourists over the past two years, Shaikenova said. “Several years ago people abstained from traveling to Kyrgyzstan because of its political instability, but this and last year Issyk-Kul was visited by more Kazakhstan residents than before. However, I would like to stress that there is no exact statistics for this year yet. We will probably have it in the beginning of 2014,” the speaker said.
The plague outbreak in Kyrgyzstan was reported in the middle of August. Kazakhstan toughened border control after a teenage boy -- Temirbek Issakunov, 15 -- died of bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government said in a statement that a total of 162 people identified as having had contact with the dead boy were isolated in hospital and taking antibiotics as a precaution under medical observation. The plague victim lived in a village in the easternmost Ak-Suu district, which borders Kazakhstan and China and is close to the picturesque Issyk-Kul lake.
By Roza Yessenkulova