Last updated: 01:37 PM ET, Mon February 15 2016

Business Travel Remains Strong Despite Zika Outbreak

Business Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | February 15, 2016

Business Travel Remains Strong Despite Zika Outbreak

Image via Thinkstock

Despite the obvious dangers presented by the Zika virus outbreak and the rampant coverage of it in the media there has been barely a blip of a reaction in the business travel industry. Like a proud legion of dutiful warriors, corporate travelers continue on with their respective business.

That is the latest from business travel website Rocketrip and its CEO Dan Ruch who was kind enough to offer up insight and thoughts on Zika and its most immediate influence on corporate travel.

Despite the threat and ongoing media hubub, this particula rsecot remains undauinted. In fact, the website's data showed just a “minimal impact” thanks to Zika.

As TravelPulse’s Janeen Christoff reported earlier this month, Mexico’s Ministry of Health, in concert with the tourism board, downplayed the threat to tourists from the virus, which was echoed by Chilean officials.

Answering this very concern, Rocketrip explains that business travel has not been greatly affected by Zika and the discussions surrounding its effect on tourism.

Firms are encouraged to exhaust options open to their particular personnel in the field.

At least, that seems to be what is taking place at the moment according to Ruch: “Rocketrip's not aware of any company implementing travel bans specifically-related to Zika. The first step for most businesses when responding to health concerns would be identifying which employees are traveling to affected areas, then making sure they're aware of cancellation options and/or precautionary measures they should follow on their trip.”

Ruch continued by explaining that we are still in the very early stages of education on this virus that is causing an uproar throughout the industry, which is true from those enjoying leisure travel to those heading to tropical locales for business.

Ruch states: “Since there's still so much that's unknown about the Zika virus, businesses can't expect their employees to know all the relevant information they need to consider when planning a trip, or traveling to an affected area. That suggests the need for travel managers to take a proactive advisory role.”

Rocketrip does well to offer some general guidelines to firms that have personnel in affected areas or may be in the process of booking travel in the near future.

It’s brief list includes: “helping clients think about possible travel moratoriums to affected areas (not yet an issue), making sure employees are made aware of the relevant precautionary measures they should take, and helping manage potential complications related to trip cancellations.”

Now the overarching good news is that travel continues with relative strength. There is an interesting caveat when you consider this corner of the marketplace taken up by road warriors.

Ruch offers: “Though business trips are often booked last minute, international trips typically require more advanced planning, meaning any decrease in corporate travel volume from the US to Latin America might be lagged.”

If there is to be any drastic downturn in International travel from this particular sector it will invariably take some time.

For the moment, confidence in the region remains high from both the health and tourism boards of those affected countries as well as the people whose duty it is to deal with the tropics’ latest scourge.


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