Talk about mixed signals.
The nation’s animal health service said Tuesday that it had allowed the evacuation of 100 cows from the neighborhood of the Turrialba volcano at the request of the animals’ owners.
Meanwhile, the national emergency commission issued a statement that the canton of Turrialba was a secure location for tourism. The commission noted that restrictions only apply to a five-kilometer radius around the mountain.
Mauricio Ventura, the tourism minister, joined with the commission to say that visitors can continue to come to the area.
The volcano has entered an active phase, and there are some suspicions about the nearby Irazú volcano, too. The two volcanoes are linked underground.
The transportation of cows, mostly milk animals, presents a health risk that could cause the spread of disease. The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal said it had inspected and issued health permissions for the transport of the animals from Central and La Picada on the skirts of the volcano. The ash has damaged the pasture heavily, and the emergency commission has been trucking in hay.
There still are other animals in the vicinity.
The government promotion of Turrialba for tourism comes at a dark time for the country’s industry. Photos of the volcano spewing tall columns of ash have been featured prominently in foreign news reports.
On the other hand, when Irazú erupted violently in 1963 it became a tourism attraction.
Then there is the outbreak of zika in the central Pacific coast. Residents there say that the latest toll cited by the
Ministerio de Salud only covered individuals who had received extensive medical treatment and that there were many others who had been infected.
A committee is trying to salvage the World Surfing Games that are scheduled for Jacó in August.
Not helping the situation is the arrival of the rainy season that will create many more locations where the mosquito vectors can breed.
There are no official statistics yet, but individual tourism operators are reporting cancellations of reservations because of zika fears. But arrivals at the country’s airports do not seem to be affected as the country moves into the second high season based on vacations in the north.