Mexico’s tourism agency said that the mosquito-borne Zika virus does not pose a threat to tourists, citing the low number of cases in the country and the location of those cases — in rural areas, not near the more popular tourist destinations.
An uphill battle
The proclamation by Mexico’s tourism agency that Zika isn’t a threat to tourists seeks to reassure apprehensive travelers, but Classic Vacations President David Hu said it likely won’t help much.
“We have seen a few cancellations, but as with all these situations, travelers have a hard time delineating facts from their emotions,” said Hu. “In particular, this disease impacts pregnant travelers, who already have heightened sensitivities regarding their health; as such, as much as I would love for the announcement to instill confidence, I am not hopeful.”
He said that as the media coverage of Zika continues, it is only likely to only increase concerns about the virus.
Classic has a notification on its agent-facing website informing agents about Zika-related advisories by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
— Michelle Baran
On Tuesday, officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Health met with tour operators from the United States and Canada in Cancun. Mexico’s tourism agency said the meeting “focused on a report of the latest Zika virus facts, the prevention and containment efforts by the Mexican government and tourism industry, and a continued practice of close coordination with the international tourism industry.”
Dr. Alberto Diaz Quiñonez, deputy general director of the Mexican Institute for Diagnostics and Epidemiology, said there have been 34 confirmed cases of the virus in Mexico. Those cases have been found in Mexican nationals in rural areas, he said during the meeting, according to Mexico tourism.
“While the Zika virus is inevitable in Mexico given its vast size, climate and trade in the region, the number of cases remains very low. Strong prevention efforts have already been in practice for years to prevent similar diseases,” he said. “Given these facts, there is no threat to tourists visiting Mexico.”
Mexico tourism said that major tourist destinations and businesses have mosquito-eradication practices in place, and that the country is prepared to contain the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to consider postponing travel to countries and territories where there has been transmission of Zika virus, and the CDC lists Mexico as one of those countries.