Are Americans Afraid to Attend the Olympics Because of Zika?

PicForNewsletterBrazilChristo15Allianz Global Assistance has released the results of a new survey on American feelings about the Olympics and the Zika virus. I’ve previously offered my perspective on travel to places where you run the risk of contracting Zika, and in short, I feel that caution is justified. If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant in the next couple of years, it’s a very serious matter, and so I’d consider postponing the trip. Because of Natalie being pregnant, we recently canceled trips to Costa Rica and Cuba as we didn’t want to risk it. There are also reports of the virus also being transmitted sexually.

The Allianz survey found that 71% of Americans are not interested in traveling to Rio de Janeiro or Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games that begin this August. And 82% of respondents said that the Zika virus has “impacted their opinion toward traveling to South America during the summer.” Of that second group, 42% said that they would definitely not go, 23% said they would be less interested in going and 18% said they would go but be worried about the Zika virus during their trip. Going a step further, 49% of the Americans surveyed believe that the Olympics should have been delayed (34%) or canceled (15%) “to protect people from the virus.”

“Unfortunately for countries where Zika can be found, not even the iconic Summer Olympics are enough to draw in American tourists,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA.

Zika is not the only thing holding people back from traveling to Rio. A full 28% of Americans are hesitant to go to the Olympics because of the influence acts of terror have had on them. Other considerations for those not traveling to the Olympics include travel costs, safety concerns, health concerns, a lack of interest in sports, and difficulty getting tickets.

Allianz also reports that those going to the games are getting in and out quicker than they may have previously done.

“Travelers are proceeding with caution by either completely disregarding travel to Brazil or by hyper focusing their trips to Rio without extending their stays past the Olympics,” said Durazo.

Allianz suggests that if you do intend to travel to Brazil, or anywhere, you should protect yourself with travel insurance. Here’s more on airline policies and my thoughts on why travel insurance is important. Allianz offers travel insurance through most major US airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, and directly to consumers.

What do you think? Do you plan to travel to the games this year?

Disclaimer: Johnny Jet works as an ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and receives financial compensation.


For more information about Allianz Global, visit AllianzTravelInsurance.com.

Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

5 Comments on "Are Americans Afraid to Attend the Olympics Because of Zika?"

  1. Zika has not scared me off from attending the Paralympic games in September in Rio. I’ve bought bug spray with 99.?% deet and Permethrin to spray on clothes to help keep the mosquitoes away for my group of three who are attending the games. We’ll be there cheering on Team USA. Everyone should make the decision to attend or not attend based on what they believe is best for them. For those of you who are going, I’ll see you during the Paralympics in Rio.

  2. I just came back from Rio. I wasn’t bothered by it, too many “H1N1” scares for me to take it seriously, but then I’m not in danger of getting pregnant. I did meet several women who wanted to get pregnant, one fairly soon. Clearly these ladies were not concerned. The tour guide said that the chances of getting Zika in the city were low, though not impossible. I would be more concerned about the bacteria in the beaches because of poor sanitation in the water system.

    I know the city is spread out, but I couldn’t see any new Olympic building going on…maybe I was in the wrong area.

  3. Americans are skittish travelers and overly impacted by headlines. If Allianz is insuring in Brazil, that means professional actuaries are comfortable with a risk. We calculate with our hysteria, they calculate with numbers. We have a group going to Iran, American insurance companies insure travelers there, despite headlines and videos of planned demonstrations.

  4. Nothing to do with Zika but the Olympics just turns me off as an “event’ Too much political BS surrounding nearly all aspects of the games. I can do without it and not miss a thing.

  5. I am going and am not worried about it. The media hypes everything up and then
    everyone is afraid to go. Every Olympics has some problem and “you shouldn’t go”
    because of it. In Beijing, we weren’t going to be able to breathe because of the smog and
    it was just fine. It won’t be perfect in Rio but it should be O.K. to go.

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