Puerto Rico tourism resists Zika fears: official

Tourism, which brings in nearly $4 billion to Puerto Rico's economy, is the first industry to exit the island's five-year recession, it said.

Puerto Rico tourism resists Zika fears: official

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tourism in Puerto Rico is holding steady despite visitors' concerns about the outbreak of the Zika virus on the Caribbean island, the head of the official tourism agency says.

"Puerto Rico's tourism in 2016 remained extremely resilient despite a challenging year," said Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Tourism in the US territory looks set to show modest growth after a record-breaking 2015, the PRTC said in a statement on Wednesday.

The positive response is partly due to the agency's "facts over fears" information campaigns about Zika, Rocafort said.

The viral disease can be spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito or sexual contact.

The virus is linked to the birth defect microcephaly, which causes newborns' heads to be abnormally small, and rare adult-onset neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The PRTC recommends visitors use insect repellent to avoid contracting Zika in Puerto Rico, which has more than 30,000 cases.

The campaign "was instrumental in informing and arming travelers with the facts about Zika for a worry-free experience on the island, mitigating the impact on an essential industry to the island's economy," Rocafort said.

Non-resident hotel registrations in the first nine months of 2016 were up 1.4 percent from the same period in 2015, according to the PRTC.

Puerto Rico had 32,848 Zika cases as of Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

In the continental United States, the CDC has registered 185 locally acquired cases of Zika, all of them in Florida except for one in Texas.

The virus outbreak, which began in mid-2015, has mainly swept across Latin America and the Caribbean.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Aralık 2016, 09:26