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Is The Zika Virus Already Impacting The Broader Tourism Market?

Is The Zika Virus Already Impacting The Broader Tourism Market?

Florida Governor Rick Scott is reportedly in South Florida this week after three more cases of non-travel-related Zika virus transmission were reported. The new transmissions bring the total number of locally-contracted cases up to 43.

While that number is still extremely low considering the huge population of the region, fears surrounding the disease could already be impacting tourism to the area. Florida is a state that relies heavily on tourism.

Miami Beach recently announced the temporary closure of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden in order to limit the possibility of further Zika infections.

Earlier this month, Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) CEO Bob Igert told CNBC that Zika hasn’t had any impact on Disney’s Florida theme parks.

“We’ve had a few calls on it, but we really haven’t seen anything that we would be concerned about in terms of its impact on visitation or bookings,” Igert said.

Related Link: Netflix Or Disney: At $96 A Share, Which Would You Choose For The Long Term?

Companies in the travel industry, particularly those that generate business from the Caribbean and Latin American regions, are also downplaying the impact Zika is having on business. However, the stock market is telling a different story.

While the S&P 500 is up 6.8 percent this year, each of the following airline and cruise stocks are down between 12 and 39 percent in 2016:

  • American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL): Down >12.3 percent year-to-date.
  • Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL): Down 13 percent year-to-date.
  • JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU): Down 29 percent year-to-date.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ: NCLH): Down 38.8 percent year-to-date.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE: RCL): Down 30.7 percent year-to-date.
  • Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV): Down 13.7 percent year-to-date.

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