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August 14, 2016: Florida’s $82 Billion Tourism Industry Braces for Zika

“After enduring the years of ups and downs that came with being a part of Wynwood’s transformation from a struggling warehouse district into Miami’s hot new neighborhood, the restaurateur Ivette Naranjo thought the worst was behind her.

“Her Cafeina Wynwood Lounge hosted large events for HBO, Absolut and Audi, where up to 600 hipsters could drink and dance to a DJ spinning vinyl in the garden. On weekends, an even mix of locals and tourists sipped cocktails with names like Hot Passion and critiqued the art in the adjacent gallery.

“Then came Zika.

“After Friday’s announcement that mosquitoes carrying the virus had been found in a square mile of Wynwood, this past Saturday was her worst night ever.

“’Usually we have from 250 to 350 people a night in the summer, and we had about 40 people come in,’ Ms. Naranjo said.

“The news grew worse on Monday, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the first Zika travel advisory in the United States, cautioning pregnant women to avoid Wynwood.

“Though the warning comes in August, traditionally a slow season for tourism in Miami, it does coincide with the time that many travelers are looking to make their plans for winter vacations. It has left hoteliers and others in the travel industry nervous that the warning will dampen Florida’s $82 billion tourism industry.”

Source: The New York Times

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