Galilee tourism hit by leptospirosis outbreak

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Upper Zavitan River. (photo credit: HADAR YAHAV)

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(TNS) – The outbreak of leptospirosis in northern Israel has hit the tourist industry to that region hard. Regional councils are reporting that in the height of the summer season bookings are down by 30%. The Center for Regional Councils sent a letter to Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin this morning demanding that he introduce a campaign to promote tourism to the Galilee.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that 42 Israelis have contracted leptospirosis from bathing in a contaminated spring in the Golan Heights and the waters that it feeds. In most cases the symptoms were mild. The contamination was probably caused from the feces of cattle herds and contaminate waters have been closed. The Ministry of Health stresses that it is safe to travel to the north and the disease cannot be caught from the air or pool water.

On top of the leptospirosis scare, guest house owners feel they have been hit by Ministry of Tourism campaigns stressing Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the achievements of the “Open Skies” program which makes air fares and traveling abroad much cheaper.

Low-cost flights have made life difficult for Israeli hoteliers and especially guest houses in the north, which charge much higher prices than destinations in overseas countries such as Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.


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