Visa: No spike in cancelled Rio 2016 trips
VISA, one of the Olympics' top global sponsors, kicked off its global advertising campaign for the Summer Games on Sunday with no plans to cut back on its Olympic presence despite difficulties in host country Brazil.
The United States payment provider said it has seen no significant cancellations in trips to Rio de Janeiro over concerns of an outbreak of the Zika virus and political upheaval in Brazil.
Lynne Biggar, Visa's chief marketing and communications officer, said: "We have not seen any different pattern of cancellation than we do in any Olympic Games."
The company expects 400,000 to 500,000 visitors to attend the Rio Games, which will run from Aug 5 to 21, the first Olympics ever to be held in South America.
Brazil was awarded the Olympics in 2009 when it was enjoying a period of strong economic growth. It has since fallen into its worst recession in decades.
The country is waging the world's most serious battle against Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that is linked to the birth defect microcephaly.
The World Health Organization has advised that pregnant women avoid travel to Zika outbreak areas.
Visa's global ad campaign kicked off on Sunday night when it aired its first Olympics commercial during Game 7 of the National Basketball Association Finals.
It features the top athletes it sponsors such as US swimmer Missy Franklin and Canadian divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware carpooling to the Olympics.
A source said a top sponsor like Visa pays about US$25 million (S$34 million) per year for four years.