After the conclusion of the troubled and controversial Rio Olympics, many are undoubtedly looking forward to life without Zika.
An infectious disease typically transmitted through mosquito bites, the Zika virus was a constant dark cloud hanging over Rio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning, particularly for pregnant women because of Zika’s ability to cause birth defects.
However, in this interconnected world, very few events occur in a vacuum.
Take Great Britain as a prime example. The vastness of the Atlantic Ocean separates it from infected countries in the Americas. Yet according to The Telegraph, 50 British residents have contracted the Zika virus due to personal travel and tourism in affected regions. Officially, the likelihood of British athletes and spectators contracting Zika is low. But with millions attending the Rio games, these statistics are hardly reassuring.
Due to the proximity of the Zika virus outbreak, the U.S. is at greater risk. About a month prior to the Rio games, researchers found two types of Zika-carrying mosquitoes that are common in southern states. Florida is especially vulnerable, having recorded one of the first cases of the Zika virus in America.
With the Sunshine State’s tourism industry accounting for $90 billion in revenue, the threat of financial harm is a very real danger. Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has a downbeat assessment on Puerto Rico, citing the Zika virus as a headwind on tourism dollars. Not only that, national businesses that have significant exposure to Florida may see a revenue hit.
It’s becoming more evident that Zika is a dynamic problem that needs an immediate solution. While we get there, here are three tourism stocks that may be at significant risk.