Is Zika Virus Impacting Brazil's Hotel Demand?
While Brazil wasn't supposed to take the world stage until the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, the South American destination already finds itself in the spotlight. Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.
As the epicenter of the Zika virus outbreak — a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to birth defects in newborns — there are growing concerns regarding travel to Brazil. But while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put out a warning list of affected areas that includes Brazil, the country's hoteliers are pleased to report they haven't noticed any significant changes in demand.
"We haven't seen any relationship between Zika and attendee demand in our hotels," Marriott International's vice president of hotel development for the Caribbean and Latin America Guilherme Cesari told Hotel News Now, pointing out that demand for the company's six Brazilian hotels is "mainly driven by corporate segment."
READ MORE: Marriott Issues Statement on Zika Virus
STR Global's senior business development manager of Latin America Patricia Boo reinforced Cesari's observation.
"The panic seems to be present more in the press than with hoteliers," she told HNN. "The hoteliers I talked to said some of their clients have asked about the virus, but only when they arrived. Precautions should be taken, of course, but in reality in South America there has not been any serious concern, and I have not heard of cancellation."
Boo said that the Zika virus is currently being viewed in the same light as dengue fever, another mosquito-borne disease.
Therefore, hoteliers in Brazil and surrounding countries will likely continue to take precautions to ensure guest safety and inspire confidence in future customers.
READ MORE: Is Zika Virus Putting Airlines at Risk?
In a statement released last month, Marriott said that its hotels in impacted areas were "taking precautions; including fogging of outdoor areas, providing mosquito repellent for guest use, addressing areas of standing water, educating our employees on the virus and making information available to guests."
Although a recent Reuters poll found that four in 10 travelers are less likely to travel to areas impacted by the Zika virus, nearly five in 10 indicated that the outbreak will have no bearing on their travel plans for the year ahead.
More by Patrick Clarke
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