According to a recent survey, “about half” of the people surveyed who are planning trips to the Orlando area said they have canceled or decided not to visit Walt Disney World due to the threat of the Zika virus.
Zika cases in Florida may be causing vacationers to reconsider plans to visit resorts including Walt Disney Co. parks in Orlando, according to BTIG LLC analyst Rich Greenfield, who cited a survey of travelers.
About half of roughly 800 people planning trips to the area said they have canceled or decided not to visit Walt Disney World due to the threat of the virus, based on a 5,000-person survey earlier this month by CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based consumer polling and research firm cited by Greenfield in a research note Thursday.
With growth at Disney’s ESPN network slowing and the company’s film studio and consumer unit facing tough comparisons, the company is relying on the parks to drive growth in fiscal 2017, wrote Greenfield, who has recommended selling the stock since December 2015.
As of last month, Disney had “not seen an impact from Zika,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said on an Aug. 9 earnings conference call.
Disney, based in Burbank, California, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
While the survey suggests travelers have Zika fears, it’s not clear that will show up in Disney’s attendance numbers, Greenfield wrote.
“Given how meaningfully the cancellation/deferral rate appears to be, this is clearly a key question Disney should be pushing management to talk about,” he wrote.
Disney shares were little changed at $92.25 in New York. The stock is down 12 percent this year as of Wednesday.