Despite Saint Lucia is yet to record one case of the Zika virus, many potential visitors to the island, are cancelling their vacation plans, the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) has revealed.
The SLHTA said it finds it disturbing, since this could have a negative impact on the local tourism sector and affect the success gained during the past year.
It was also noted that Saint Lucia should not be grouped with other countries heavily infected by the Zika virus.
Executive Vice President of the SLHTA Noorani Azeez has said the cancellations are a direct result of fear by pregnant mothers or women, who have intentions of becoming pregnant while on vacation here.
Saint Lucia is touted as the number one wedding and honeymoon destination in the Caribbean.
Azeez said Saint Lucians need to preserve the environment and use every safe measure to ensure the island does not become infected by the virus for as long as it could.
The SLHTA executive stated that other Caribbean destinations are doing much better than Saint Lucia in terms of tourism numbers and this may have an impact on the potential success.
Independent Senator Dr. Stephen King has said women here shouldn’t panic about Zika. The former Chief Medical Officer said the whole association between Zika and microcephaly is not yet scientifically proven.
However, despite his advice, the United States and other developed countries, continues to issue travel warnings, advising its citizens not to travel to Zika infected countries in the Caribbean and South America.
Several international airlines have been offering refunds to customers who have cancelled travel to several of these countries affected by the Zika virus, specifically destinations in the Caribbean.
Most recently, a pregnant Canadian woman received a refund from Air Canada Vacations, after she cancelled a trip Saint Lucia because of concerns about the virus.