Latin American countries have long relied on American tourists as a large source of their income, however, that tourism industry appears to be suffering as a result of the Zika virus. The virus is believed to be discouraging many Americans from holidaying in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a poll from Reuters/Ipsos.
The Zika virus is causing chaos as it rapidly spreads across many Latin American countries, including most notably Brazil, where the virus is linked to thousands of children being born with severe birth defects. However, the Zika virus is now bringing more problems for the economy of those such countries, as tourists opt to travel to Europe instead. In a region that largely relies on tourism as a main source of income, the Zika virus is undeniably going to hit Latin American economies incredibly hard.
There’s little word from airlines and cruise ship operators yet regarding a drop in bookings because of the Zika virus, and analysts don’t exactly seem too far concerned with the virus’ long-term economic implications for the region. However, the poll still doesn’t provide good news for countries that rely on tourism as a main source of income.
The news that so many Americans are avoiding Latin America as a holiday destination is still pretty new, considering awareness of the virus is spread incredibly quickly. So much so that nearly two-thirds of Americans are now aware of the virus and what it does, according to a poll of 1,595 adults conducted in the United States. To put that into context, a poll from January about the Zika virus puts the figure at 45 percent of Americans who had heard of the virus, which is definitely a considerable increase.
As you can imagine, the largest demographic avoiding Latin America as a holiday destination are pregnant women. That’s because the Zika virus is well known for infecting pregnant women and causing birth defects in newborn children. This comes as the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided pregnant women with advice to avoid travelling to areas with an active outbreak of Zika. While the Zika virus isn’t contagious, it is spread through mosquito bites, and with such a high density of mosquitos in many affected countries, it’s pretty easy for pregnant women to quickly become infected.
A further poll has found that six out of 10 Americans aware of the Zika virus say that the virus concerns them, with 18 percent saying that they were very concerned. However, that concern comes as no surprise when you take into consideration how close North America is to many of the countries already in an active Zika virus outbreak. In fact, the new status of the virus is undeniably contributing towards how quickly fear is spreading around it. Because many people know very little about the virus, that makes them incredibly concerned. This is especially the case for pregnant women, who are undeniably concerned about the health and safety of their unborn children.
The Zika virus is undeniably a tragedy for the many newborn children who suffer from birth defects as a result of it. But if United States citizens continue to avoid affected countries because it, tourism in the Latin America region is set for a further crash.
All eyes are now on the World Health Organisation to find a solution to the Zika virus, but that’s undeniably going to take a lot of effort on the part of countries across Latin America. However, given the speed at which the Zika virus is catching, eradicating it for good isn’t going to be an easy task.[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty images]