Only a small number of tourists have cancelled trips to Barbados as a result of the Zika virus.
However, the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders in the industry are working on preventative measures to ensure the eradication of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the vector for the Zika virus.
Speaking at a press conference on the state of the industry recently, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, explained that with three confirmed cases in Barbados, the Government was taking a number of steps to ensure the safety of Barbadians and visitors alike.
???Among the steps will be an increase in fogging; an increase in the inspection of residences, and of course we must improve the capacity to test for the vector-borne illnesses in labs,??? he stated.
Adding that there would also be a national awareness campaign on the matter, the Minister pointed out that a number of tourism stakeholders were working assiduously on their respective properties to eliminate the mosquito. He said that his Ministry, as well as the Ministry of Health, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, would work together.
???They have guidelines on the correct means to use to eliminate the mosquito, including portable fogging machines,??? Mr. Sealy explained.??The Tourism Minister was also adamant that there was a need for a sustained programme to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito ???once and for all???.
???For as long as I can remember, as soon as the rain came in or a few people [contracted] dengue the fogging machines came out and when it died down the fogging machine was packed up again. That doesn???t really make any sense???the point is that a sustained campaign along with education awareness and prevention should be used,??? he stressed.
He added that his office would continue to monitor the situation and provide any relevant information that was needed to global airlines, tour operators and travel agents to ensure that they get the most up-to-date advice on Zika.