Kyrgyzstan’s tourist industry looks set to become hostage to the violence that has engulfed the country in recent months.
Kazakh tourists who normally flock to Lake Issyk-Kul in northern Kyrgyzstan are shying away from holidays at the popular spot this summer, a Kazakh tourism official says.
“In connection with the unrest in Kyrgyzstan, demand for holidays in Issyk-Kul has dropped to zero,” Rustem Asenov, head of the Department for the Development of Tourism in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital of Almaty, told the local Vecherniy Almaty newspaper.
Almaty, just three hours’ drive from the Kyrgyz border, is usually a prime source of tourists for Issyk-Kul: around 12,000 visitors from the city usually head there on organized tours every year, Asenov added, and that figure doesn’t include independent travellers making their own way from Kazakhstan. According to some estimates, up to a million Kazakhs holiday at the lake every summer.
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