Zika Virus Outbreak Threatens Florida's Billion Tourism Industry

By Beatrice Walters, Parent Herald August 05, 12:30 am

After the Orlando bombing, Florida is facing another cross to bear as the Zika virus has reached Miami. Aside from the health complications this will cause residents, authorities are also largely concerned about the threat of the viral disease to the state's $87 billion tourism industry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released an advice for people living and traveling to Florida. The advisory alone could be enough reason for travelers to not book tickets to Florida in the near future or cancel their already planned trips.

As per The New York Times, travel agents said that cancellations of trips to Florida are at a low rate so far. Only few of those who have made plans to visit the state have changed their minds--most of which are pregnant women and young couples.

The New York Times predicts the possible effect of the Zika virus outbreak to Florida's tourism industry. It may go down as an indirect response to the CDC warnings but may bounce back right after when reports have relaxed.

This is the trend that happened to the Caribbean after the widespread Zika virus reports. People looking for flights and accommodations to the Latin countries have plummeted, only to bounce back after and by early July, searches for Caribbean countries have reached an all-time high this year.

Nonetheless, searches did not equate to actual bookings as official trips have been booked less and less starting this January. Many conferences to be held in the Caribbean countries have also been cancelled (via The New York Times).

Fortunately, the threat of the Zika virus is directed more to pregnant women so travelers are still pushing through with their plans to go to Florida and other Zika-stricken areas. Some airlines such as Jet Blue issued refunds; some did not, including American Airlines (via The New York Times). 

According to CDC, the Zika virus starts from a bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito that strikes both day and night. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to the baby inside her womb and cause birth defects. It can also be transmitted through sex and blood transfusion.

As per CNN, Florida health officials confirmed last Friday four cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. These are the first confirmed zika virus victims in the United States.

Do you think it's safe to travel to Florida or is it best to delay the trip and visit some other time? Sound off your thoughts in the Comments section below and follow Parent Herald for more news and updates.

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