Puerto Rico hotels focus on Zika protection for guests


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) has maintained close contact with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the ground in Puerto Rico to communicate Zika facts to the public.

Now, PRTC and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA) have collaborated to implement precautionary measures in hotels to alleviate Zika concerns of travelers preparing to visit one of the summer’s top getaway destinations.

PRHTA hotels have rolled-out disease prevention and control measures to keep guests safe and worry-free. In addition to education and awareness programs, other proactive measures include:

• Spraying, fogging and misting all public areas regularly to control mosquito populations

• Chlorinating and monitoring swimming pools

• Maintaining strict and preventive grounds keeping practices

• Providing hotel welcome kits for all guests at check-in that contain the latest CDC guidelines and information regarding Zika safety including an infographic detailing how to correctly apply bug spray and a brochure highlighting all the specific steps the hotel is taking to protect against Zika

• Providing Employee Awareness Training through internal communications and bulletins

• Offering EPA-approved insect repellent for free upon check-in, throughout public spaces and/or in gift shops for purchase.

• Creating an online microsite—PuertoRicoNow.SeePuertoRico.com—that provides guests and potential visitors with the most up-to-date information regarding Zika in Puerto Rico

“Responsible dissemination of health information is one thing,” said Clarisa Jiménez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, “but Zika messaging with its editorial embellishment has moved into fear mongering, and we believe that has blown things out of proportion.”

“We have taken all the measures that the CDC has recommended from day one,” Jiménez added. “We have worked diligently with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to implement this prevention program, and we have thoroughly trained all hotel staff. Through this training, all hotel staff are well-versed on how to knowledgably advise guests concerned about Zika,” she continued. “Our guest’s safety is our top priority.”

Michael Herrmann, general manager of the InterContinental San Juan, echoed Jiménez’s sentiments:

“As a responsible business, we have the duty to inform our guests and clients about our efforts to provide a safe environment for their enjoyment. For us, it is extremely important to let them know that we have implemented specific actions to mitigate and control the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito on our property in order to prevent the Zika virus.”

“In addition,” continued Herrmann, “we are echoing the official communications of Meet Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tourism Company through our social media channels, in order to let our audience know that Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit.”