Keeping A Watch On Zika

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) is reporting that major companies around the world are keeping a close watch on the Zika virus, but in its latest survey, it found that 55% are reporting “very little” impact on business travel throughout the infected countries (in the Pacific, the Caribbean and Central and South America).

ACTE’s survey also found that while 79% of the survey’s 113 respondents stated their travellers had “no reluctance” about journeying through these regions, 21% did express misgivings; 4% indicated that travellers were “considerably” concerned and only 2 of the 113 companies had instituted travel restrictions.

Greeley Koch, ACTE’s executive director, said: “The lessons of the 2014 Ebola epidemic are still fresh in everyone’s mind. Back then, facts changed on a weekly basis, as did the response levels of governments and government health agencies. Everyone is expecting new Zika data and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are being passed onto travellers as quickly as possible.”

And Koch pointed out that 53% of survey respondents have issued such communications, and will continue to do so in the future.

In fact, 79% of survey respondents said they relied on CDC advisories for information, with third-party risk/security advisors providing data to an additional 62%. Industry media coverage corroborated Zika virus data for 38% with another 20% including mainstream media coverage. Local health agencies constituted resources for 34%, though it is likely that business travel managers are considering multiple source of information as they become available, according to Koch.

For the majority of companies, the Zika virus situation is being handled by the travel department (80%) and shared with crisis management/security (72%). Human resource management followed third (40%), with CEO and upper management overseeing operations (20%).