QCOSTARICA – Very few tourists, mainly pregnant women, have cancelled their trips to Costa Rica after the country was included in the list of nations with the Zika virus.
In report by La Nacion, says the information was confirmed by the Minister of Tourism, Mauricio Ventura and the president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), Pablo Abarca Heriberto Mora.
Although Ventura nor Abarca gave figures, the both agree the number (of cancellations) is very low.
“The effects so far has not been dramatic. We have reports of some cancellations, but they are isolated cases. There is no cancellation movement,” Ventura told La Nacion.
Despite the Ministry of Health saying there is no evidence of people being infected by the Zika virus in Costa Rica, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have included the country on the list of countries with local circulation of the virus.
“We do not want to have our international demand (for tourism) punished for a situation that is not happening. Of course, something like this always generates fear. It was the same with Ebola and the H1N1 influenza.
“We have tried to diminish these fears with intentional press releases, which state that there is no travel restrictions, only a recommendation,” said Minister Ventura.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Alexander Mora, said that the despite the Zika, his agenda of foreign visits remains full.
“We recently had a visit from a Turkish mission, are awaiting another from the Emirates and have scheduled a large number of appointments with executives from companies with investments here, planning to come to inaugurations(…),” said Mora.
Laura Chavarría Brenes, executive director of the Chamber of Tourism of Puntarenas, confirmed that they have not received reports of cancellations.
Local chambers, like Puntarenas and La Cruz, Guanacaste – two areas that cover a major part of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and receive mostly tourists from the United States and Canada – say they have not noticed any major impact on tourism from the threat of the Zika.