However, much of the headlines around the event continue to focus on health issues when travelling to Brazil – in particular, the Zika virus outbreak in the country and the serious threat it poses to travellers.
Security concerns are also becoming more apparent, both on a local level and also in the context of a general rise in global security incidents. With unfortunate timing, these travel risk issues have been accentuated by the high-profile impeachment of Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and the general political and economic turmoil in the country.
For instance, Brazil’s economic crisis has resulted in delays to civil servants’ salaries at about the worst time given the Olympics and influx of tourists and business travellers, while police officers have also voiced concerns around non-payment of salaries, along with shortages of basic equipment. On 7 July a group of police officers staged a protest at Rio’s International airport: dozens of officers gathered at the arrivals area of Terminal 2 with signs written in English stating: “Welcome to Hell. Police officers and fire-fighters are not being paid. Whoever comes to Rio is not safe”!
For HR professionals, the Games represent a challenge with regards to any staff looking to travel to the event on business (or even leisure) and/ or for those taking clients on corporate hospitality trips. Not only will there be particular health concerns, the heightened global risk and security environment should also be factored in – making sure employees have access to the right information and the right assistance facilities will be key.