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What:According to a recent members-only Travel Leaders Group survey, the majority of clients are not canceling trips to destinations with confirmed cases of the Zika virus. Key findings are separated into age groups: travelers in their 20s and 30s, 40s and 50s and 60 years and older. The survey was conducted Feb. 3-5.
Why It Matters:Most symptoms of the mosquito-borne virus are mild and last up to a week. However, without a vaccine or treatment available and the disease’s link to birth defects, Zika has raised alarm for those traveling to affected areas and who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Likewise, the survey found that cancellations are highest at 25.9 percent of travel agents with clients in their 20s and 30s, with almost 90 percent citing pregnancy or possible pregnancy. The number significantly drops for older clients: 10.2 percent for clients in their 40s and 50s and 7 percent for clients aged 60 and older. Agents should be prepared to provide up-to-date information about the virus, in addition to advice for avoiding mosquito bites.
Fast Facts:- 78.1 percent of travel agents said that none of their clients in their 20s and 30s are altering travel plans in favor of a different destination due to Zika; 89.5 percent for clients in their 40s and 50s; and 92.6 percent for clients aged 60 and older.
- 83 percent of travel agents said that none of their clients in their 20s and 30s are delaying their original travel plans due to Zika; 94.5 percent for clients in their 40s and 50s; and 92.6 percent for clients aged 60 and older.
What They Are Saying:“Understanding the seriousness of the Zika virus, our agents have been providing detailed information to their clients over the course of the last few months — particularly to those who are pregnant or may be trying to start a family — so that they may make informed decisions about their travel plans,” said Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group. “Our job is to advocate for our clients, and our clients’ safety is always our top priority. Even 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. 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.”