Tourists afraid of bedbugs? The Associated Press thinks so! Today’s national wire carries a terrifying (and mostly anecdotal) piece about how bedbugs — this year’s trendiest New York annoyance/epidemic/infestation — are threatening the city’s “$30 billion tourism industry.”
The AP reports that, at least officially, tourism industry pros aren’t aware of bedbug-related cancellations, but that they’ve “privately told city officials” that they’re “nervous” about the pests damaging the city’s reputation and threatening business.
The story doesn’t cite any numbers, or even any hospitality industry insiders, to suggest that tourism is actually on the decline (let alone that it has anything to do with bedbugs and not, for instance, more people getting murdered), but nonetheless has some charming anecdotes from tourists the AP “tracked down” who canceled their New York-bound trips after psyching themselves out with bedbug horror stories on Expedia.com or something.
Of course, that doesn’t mean bedbugs aren’t on everyone’s minds these days. The AP even talked to a psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety disorders who admits people are “talking about it more,” “taking it seriously,” and who are “changing the way they live their lives.” And there’s this mortifying little bit that aired on CNN today (we’re praying that bedbugs prevent these people from procreating).
Maybe instead of stressing out about what bedbugs mean for the city’s tourism industry, we should just start handing out bug spray and lithium tablets with each hotel reservation. Beats a pillow mint, right?