Tourists 'should brave flood mosquitoes'
Grab a bottle of mosquito repellent, a German minister urged on Monday, and head on down to show solidarity with Germany's worst affected flood regions for your holidays this year.
A current plague of mosquitoes swarming over flood plains along the recently-flooded Elbe, Mulde or Donau rivers should not deter holiday-makers from the disaster regions, German Finance Minister Philipp Rösler told the Neue Presse newspaper on Monday.
“To those who haven't booked a trip yet, I would recommend a visit to these regions,” said Rösler. “It will surely not only be a beautiful holiday, but at the same time is solidarity in practice.”
His comments received thanks from regional tourism groups, which had in places seen visitor numbers drop by up to 50 percent after last month's flooding discouraged tourists from taking a riverside holiday this year.
“[Rösler's comments] will really help us,” Lauenburg-based tourism manager Ulrike Sindermann told the paper. Business has been terrible in the Schleswig-Holstein town since it was swamped in June when the Elbe river burst its banks.
Yet most of the damage has long been cleared up, said Sindermann, leaving her wondering where everyone is.
The flood - the worst seen in the country for over 500 years – has hit the German tourism industry hard. Not only did it destroy hotels, campsites and restaurants right at the beginning of the season, but has also in many regions given rise to a plague of mosquitoes.
“One could talk of a massive plague in the flood regions on the Donau and Elbe. There, even during the day you get attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes and can hardly stay outside,” said Norbert Becker, scientific director of the German Mosquito Control Association (Kabs) told Die Welt on Monday.