PHOTO: San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. (Photo courtesy of Marriott International).
Puerto Rico is currently on a Level 2 Alert for Zika virus, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging travelers visiting the island destination to practice enhanced precautions this summer.
Nonetheless, the U.S. territory has taken important steps to provide peace of mind for visitors.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) and Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA) announced Thursday that they have joined forces to roll out a plethora of precautionary measures at hotels throughout the island.
PRHTA member hotels have introduced education and awareness programs for staff and guests as well.
"Responsible dissemination of health information is one thing, but Zika messaging with its editorial embellishment has moved into fear mongering, and we believe that has blown things out of proportion," said PRHTA president and CEO Clarisa Jimenez in a statement.
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As Jimenez points out, hotels aren't hiding the threat but looking to reduce it by making information easily accessible to visitors. For example, hotels are supplying welcome kits for guests at check-in that contain the latest CDC guidelines and how to stay safe. Information includes how to correctly apply bug spray and what the guest's hotel is doing to protect them from the virus.
Hotels are also offering free insect repellent at check-in and making it available at other public spaces.
Behind the scenes, hotels in Puerto Rico have been routinely spraying, fogging and misting public areas and chlorinating swimming pools.
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"We have worked diligently with the PRTC to implement this prevention program, and we have thoroughly trained all hotel staff," added Jimenez. "Through this training, all hotel staff are well-versed on how to knowledgably advise guests concerned about Zika."
"Our guest's safety is our top priority."
For travelers eyeing a trip to Puerto Rico this summer, the PRTC has created an online microsite, PuertoRicoNow.SeePuertoRico.com, that features the most up-to-date information pertaining to Zika in Puerto Rico.