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Tourism alert

Hoteliers move to cushion Zika impact

Local and regional hotel and tourism industry officials are concerned about the possible impact of the Zika virus on the sector and are taking steps to mitigate the effect.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warnings about travelling to countries that have reported the presence of the virus, leaving tourism officials worried that these warnings could hurt the industry.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sue Springer told Barbados TODAY hoteliers were being proactive in mitigating the impact the virus could have on the tourism industry, which is currently experiencing a favourable performance.

Barbados has so far recorded three cases of the virus.

Springer said based on past experiences with some mosquito-borne viruses hoteliers were aware of the steps to be taken and therefore they were putting preventive and control measures in place at their facilities, including staff training and ensuring their properties were free of stagnant water.   

“Unfortunately in this day and age we are facing all sorts of viruses coming to haunt us, whether it is H1N1, SARS [Coronovirus], dengue, Chikungunya and now we have Zika,” said Springer.

“In any of these cases we have always worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. With the Chikungunya the Ministry of Health was very proactive and carried out vector training for a lot of our maintenance personnel in the hotels. Also we had a spreadsheet of how to do your own self-audit for mosquitoes and so on and how to deal with that. We shall be re-enacting that now as we have the mosquito situation,” explained the BHTA executive.

Women who are pregnant and those planning to become pregnant have been specifically warned to postpone travel to affected countries because of the possible link of the virus to microcephaly.

However, Springer said industry officials were acting “to allay the fears” and to control the mosquito population.

“Obviously it is a different situation regarding the people that are pregnant because of the medical research that seem to have come about from that. So yes, there is a concern regarding that but we shall be working as usual, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to do what we can to sort of allay the fears and to also try to remove mosquitoes as much we can,” she said.

Meanwhile a release from the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) today said public health authorities in the region were working diligently to mitigate the effects of the virus.

The regional tourism organization said it would continue to work closely with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) to continue to monitor developments related to the mosquito-borne virus and to support “appropriate communication, education and prevention initiatives”.

“With more than 700 islands in 30 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.

“The public sector led Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its private sector counterpart, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), are in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors,” said the statement.

“The CTO and CHTA are in communication with their respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne [viruses], which can be found in tropical countries,” it concluded.

6 Responses to Tourism alert

  1. Linda Fenty
    Linda Fenty January 26, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Stop the talk and do the walk people in authority. Get those lazy ass prisoners of their butts to start cleaning the bush. The health inspectors to do their jobs and the people of Barbados to clean their surroundings by getting rid of all the rubbish around their homes. Let’s keep Barbados clean and mean it !

  2. Tony Webster January 26, 2016 at 6:34 am

    So right lady: All hands …on deck…stat!

  3. Observer January 26, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Linda very good suggestion but you fail to mention the collection of garbage is the worst how can you tell a person to clean around your house and the garbage sit in front of your house until it breed maggots, flies,centipedes, rats have a field day in the trash who is responsible for all of that you tell me ,the people of barbados always being told to this do that ,what the hell is the authority doing

  4. Angela Fergusson January 26, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Well said Linda! Let’s us all get out and get going. We will be better for it , our country will be better for it!
    Hello Observer, until the garbage collection is taken care of, let us all do our necessary bit, clean and de-clutter. 🙂

  5. Alex Alleyne January 26, 2016 at 11:23 am

    “Unfortunately in this day and age we are facing all sorts of viruses coming to haunt us, whether it is H1N1, SARS, Dengue ,Chikungunya and now we have Zika”
    When we have all kind of “vessels” moving in and out of the Caribbean waters you never know what is inside that “cage” that will be flying out after the door is open on a TEST flight.
    Next thing you know we will be dropping like “dead flies”.
    The Caribbean is the renew TESTING ground.

  6. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm

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