CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. May 4, 2009: The current swine flu or influenza A(H1N1) infection scare may boost lagging tourism to the Caribbean, a travel poll claims.
Research released by TripAdvisor.com, dubbed as a `popular and the largest travel community,` indicates a significant shift in search activity for Caribbean hotels compared to Mexican hotels.
A statement released by the company claims there was a fifty-percent drop in Mexico hotel search on its site but a 30 percent increase in Caribbean hotel searches last week.
The release comes as Mexico reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection from swine flu, including 19 deaths. The United States Government has reported 226 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.
TripAdvisor says hotels in Mexico on its site have seen an average 50 percent drop in page views from Monday, April 27 through Thursday, April 30, compared to the Monday through Thursday period of the prior week, while hotels in the Caribbean have experienced an average 30 percent jump in page views during the same time period.
The Caribbean has no reported cases of the disease, which World Health Organization officials placed last week at a phase five because of its capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world.
Last week, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Wayne Cummings, said the situation is being closely monitored but Caribbean Tourism officials declined to comment to CWNN on whether the region could benefit from the scare. Tourism to the region has suffered a decline this season amid the global recession.
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths so far of the disease: Austria (1), Canada (85), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (8), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).
Early signs of influenza A(H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea. People have been advised to use a tissue when coughing, and to wash their hands regularly. – By CWNN Staffer