Despite Zika fears Guanacaste hotels are booked for Easter holiday

first_imgRelated posts:Guanacaste airport expansion set to begin in January Amid Holy Week traffic, four highways temporarily waive toll fees No new cases of Zika in Costa Rica in recent weeks Construction of Discovery Costa Rica set to begin in 2018 The confirmation of the first cases oflocal transmission of Zika virus in Costa Rica did not have a negative effect on reservations at hotels in the province of Guanacaste ahead of Holy Week, which starts Sunday.Guanacaste Tourism Chamber president Priscilla Solano Castillo said Wednesday that hotels at beaches and other tourist destinations reported an average occupancy of 98 percent for the holiday.Just four weddings and two group trips had been reported cancelled to Guanacaste, one of the most visited areas of the country, out of fear of contracting Zika, she said.Solano applauded a coordinated education and mosquito eradication plan between the Guanacaste tourism sector and government entities for helping keep reservation numbers up.Another factor might also be boosting reservation rates: The Labor Ministry agreed earlier this month to give most of the 300,000 public sector employees the entire week off in order to promote domestic tourism during the holiday.Recommended: Visit The Tico Times Travel section for ideas on where to spend Easter Holy Week in Costa Rica.The Zika prevention plan for Guanacaste includes periodic fumigation throughout the province, collection of garbage — where mosquitos often breed — and distribution of printed information to tourists about Zika and how to prevent mosquito bites.Health Ministry officials are also giving talks about preventive measures at hotels across the northern Pacific province.Fumigation campaigns intensified starting last week as part of efforts to help tourists have a safe stay during Holy Week. The campaign will continue through April 26, Solano said.In February, following confirmation of the first locally-transmitted cases of Zika and also a spike in cases of the mosquito-borne dengue and chikungunya viruses, the Health Ministry declared a state of emergency for 31 cantons located in all seven provinces.The first two confirmed cases of Zika occurred in the Guanacaste canton of Nicoya. The state of emergency is currently in force for seven cantons of Guanacaste province: Liberia, Carrillo, Santa Cruz, Cañas, La Cruz, Abangares and Nicoya.There are now eight confirmed cases of local transmission of Zika in Costa Rica, according to the latest report from the Health Ministry issued Wednesday. All of them occurred in Guanacaste.In addition, health officials have reported Zika in four people who contracted the virus during trips abroad. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Govt calls inbound tour operators to join ADS

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Inbound tour operators are encouraged to apply for Approved Destination Status (ADS) endorsement which will allow them to service Chinese tour groups.“The China market is booming and expected to grow to $5.5 billion by 2017, becoming Australia’s largest inbound tourism market,” Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson said.“The Government’s $4.1 million ADS Scheme helps Australian tourism operators to make the most of [this] rapid growth.”Australia was one of the first western countries to receive ADS from the Chinese Government, a move which has facilitated the travel of organised tour groups from China, ensuring quality service for the Chinese and the maintenance of Australia’s visitor visa programme.“The ADS scheme gives travellers confidence about the quality and authenticity of the operator and the experience they have in Australia,” Mr Ferguson said.“Tourism is a people business so customer satisfaction is vital to the continued success of the scheme, and in protecting Australia’s reputation as a high-quality and safe international destination for Chinese nationals.”Inbound tour operators need to apply for ADS approval each year, although the renewal process has been made easier to encourage growth, a government spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard.“Numbers [of ADS inbound tour operators] have remained in the mid-fifties since 2005,” they said.The government has streamlined the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics in an effort to draw more inbound tour operators and better service those already participating in the scheme.“We have responded to industry concerns about the ADS Scheme,” Mr Ferguson said.“When applications open on 22 July, they will remain open on an on-going basis for the next four years.” “We have also introduced a new sanction structure which will allow inbound tour operators that continue to breach the ADS Code to be omitted from the scheme faster than before,” he added.“Through regular compliance checks the Australian Government is ensuring that participating tour operators meet high standards and comply with all relevant fair trading and immigration legislation.”Applications to participate in the ADS scheme open from 22 July 2010.last_img read more