Recently, the tourism industry across the world have seen multiple threats from outside forces. From the growing threat of terrorism in Europe, Zika virus in the Americas, and violence in Brazil during the Olympics; the business of tourism has faced threats that have caused fear in its target publics, resulting in some downturns in the industry internationally.
South and Central America are facing a reluctance from outside tourism due to the spread of the Zika Virus. This past January, tourism rates increased compared to 2015, this changed after the initial outbreak. This year, 35 groups and conventions cancelled reservations in Puerto Rico, costing the industry there 42,000 room nights worth of revenue. According to Marie Dexter, co-founder and principal of Resort Development Consultants Inc, “Very upscale resorts in the Caribbean had on their books…large wedding groups that were booking entire hotels, that canceled.” However, visitor-ship has risen recently, due to the importance of strategic marketing on the part of Puerto Rico, in effort to assuage public fears for safety.
(Zika Virus PSA. Credit: CDC.)
On the other side of the spectrum lies Brazil and Europe, and their respective security risks. Brazil has a reputation of being a violent country, and while there are significant crime rates in the country, according to USA Today, outsiders tend to exaggerate the issue. Security forces were sent to provide protection for tourists during the Olympics, but despite this, the threat of violence did cause a reluctance from tourists.
A similar issue happened in Europe this year. According to the New York Times, after the March bombings in Brussels, the Belgian economy lost nearly one billion euros in business revenue. France, one of the most visited countries in the world suffered a similar loss in tourist revenue after the Paris attacks last year.
(Belgium after the Attacks. Credit New York Times.)
The issues surrounding the differences between Puerto Rico and what is happening in Europe is the reassurance of public safety. Good public and consumer relations puts the customer first and calms any fears they may have. First Resort PR is dedicated to putting the customer first.