Zika Virus Missing the Bite on Travel Plans so Far

travel and zika

While the Zika virus, like the Ebola eruption a little over a year ago, is sending shock waves through the air waves, the travel industry is reporting little, if any, change in atmosphere from their clients. A leading travel network, the Travel Leaders Group, took the pulse of its agent membership to check the effect the Zika virus is having on vacation travel. According to results, and not surprisingly, the vast majority of travelers are continuing with their original vacation plans to travel to destinations where there have been confirmed cases of the Zika virus.

When asked “How many clients are cancelling their travel plans because of the Zika virus,” 74.1% of the Group’s travel agents reported “none” for clients in their 20s and 30s; 89.8% stated no cancellations at all for clients in their 40s and 50s; and 93.0% stated there are no cancellations for clients 60 years and older.  In addition, 94.5% indicated they have had no cancellations for their Destination Wedding clients, and 93.3% said they had no cancellations for their Honeymoon clientele.

“We were a bit surprised to learn just how limited the impact of the Zika virus has been on the overwhelming majority of our clients’ travel plans,” says Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “The World Health Organization has been clear in stating it found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus and, armed with the facts, most travelers are opting to travel even as they heed expert advice for avoiding mosquito bites.”

travel and zika

Key Findings for Travelers in their 20s and 30s:

According to Travel Leaders Group’s survey data,

74.1% of travel agents stated “none” of their clients in their 20s and 30s are cancelling (and not rebooking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus, while another 21.6% indicated that six or fewer clients are cancelling their travel plans (11.1% said it was limited to 1-2 clients).

For those indicating clients in their 20s and 30s are canceling travel plans because of Zika virus, 89.8% of cancellations are due to a pregnancy or possible pregnancy.

Key Findings for Travelers in their 40s and 50s:

According to the survey data, 89.8% stated “none” of their clients in their 40s and 50s are cancelling (and not rebooking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus, while 5.1% indicated “1-2 clients” are cancelling their travel plans.

Key Findings for Travelers 60 and Older:

According to the survey data, 93.0% stated “none” of their clients 60 years or older are cancelling (and not rebooking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus, while 4.6% indicated “1-2 clients” are cancelling their travel plans.

Key Findings for Destination Weddings:

94.5% of travel agents stated “none” of their Destination Wedding clients are cancelling (and not rebooking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus, while 3.1% indicated “1-2 clients” are cancelling their travel plans.

For the fraction of those indicating Destination Wedding clients are cancelling travel plans due to the Zika virus, 96.3% of the agents said cancellations are due to a pregnancy or possible pregnancy.

Key Findings for Honeymoon Travel:

According to the survey data, 93.3% of travel agents stated “none” of their Honeymoon clients are cancelling (and not rebooking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus, while 4.2% indicated “1-2 clients” are cancelling their travel plans.

For the fraction of those indicating Honeymoon clients are cancelling travel plans due to the Zika virus, 93.1% said cancellations are due to a pregnancy or possible pregnancy.

Heading into 2016, Travel Leaders Group travel agents were asked to identify the Top International “Destination Wedding” Destinations being booked by their clients. Survey participants could select up to five destinations. The 10 most popular international destinations included:

 

Cancun, Mexico 64.5%
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 41.1%
Montego Bay, Jamaica 36.1%
Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico 32.2%
Negril, Jamaica 28.1%
CRUISE – Caribbean 22.1%
Ocho Rios, Jamaica 21.7%
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico 16.0%
St. Lucia 12.8%
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 11.9%

Heading into 2016, Travel Leaders Group travel agents were asked to identify the Top International Honeymoon Destinations being booked by their clients. Survey participants could select up to five destinations. The 10 most popular international Honeymoon destinations included:

 

Cancun, Mexico 46.7%
CRUISE – Caribbean 37.0%
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 27.0%
Montego Bay, Jamaica 21.7%
Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico 18.5%
Negril, Jamaica 17.1%
St. Lucia 16.0%
Rome, Italy 13.2%
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico 13.0%
Bora Bora 12.4%

The Zika Virus survey was conducted February 3-5, with results are based on responses from 1,102 Travel Leaders Group travel agent experts.

The top Destination Wedding list is based on survey results from 608 of the Group’s travel agent experts and the top Honeymoon list is based on survey results from 972 travel agent experts surveyed as part of a greater report between November 17-December 8, 2015.

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