Liepāja wastewater accident leaves dent in tourist activity

The collapse of the wastewater reservoir in Liepāja at the end of July scared away some tourists, particularly Lithuanian tourists, due to some publications covering it as a major environmental disaster, Kurzeme regional television reported on August 14.

On the day following the collapse of the wastewater development reservoir in the area of Liepāja purification plants, publications appeared in several foreign media that there was an ecological disaster in Liepāja, it was not allowed to swim in the sea or use showers or drink tap water.

Ieva Skābarde, director of the tourism center of the Dienvidkurzeme municipality, said that “more concern was actually near Rucava, Pape from Lithuanian tourists, because they thought things were all bad”.

“And then, when I looked at the Lithuanian media, I could see why everything was bad. The Lithuanian media had caused such a major storm because the headlines were that you should not go near the coast at all,” Skābarde said.

Liepājas Regional Tourism Information Bureau Board member Sintija Pusaudze said that property owners and managers reported that “the percentage of cancellation of reservations was 18% higher than usual during this period of time”.

However, in the long term, this event will not affect Latvia's tourism sector, considers the President of the Latvian Association of Tourism Agents and Operators, Ēriks Lingebērziņš.

“Looking at such a macro level, it has indeed been an incident of a local nature – of course, it may have caused many different issues for the locals, but, of course, we cannot say in any way that it has damaged the image of Latvian tourism, the image of Kurzeme or the image of Liepāja as a tourist destination.”

This event affected the work of the Liepāja hotels differently. Some of those whose clients are from Western Europe and other continents have not felt the consequences of this incident at all. On the other hand, in those mainly neighboring Lithuania, turnover had fallen by more than a fifth over the end of July.

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