Zika Virus Takes A Bite Out Of Americans’ Vacation Plans To Florida With The Number Of Travelers Planning Flights To Miami Dropping By Almost 30 Percent
The number of Americans planning to travel to Florida over the peak fall/winter season dropped by almost 15 percent following the discovery of locally-transmitted Zika virus in Miami, according to an analysis of travelers’ booking intent by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance.
On August 1st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning for people heading to South Florida after finding that Zika was being spread by mosquitoes in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami-Dade County, and later in a section of Miami Beach. The warning for Wynwood was recently lifted.
Allianz Global Assistance reviewed more than 940,000 Americans’ travel plans made during the month of August for the peak fall/winter vacation season from mid-November 2016 to mid-April 2017 and compared the results with the same period last year. It found that the number of travelers planning to book flights to Miami was down 29.11 percent, while the state of Florida as a whole was down 14.84 percent. Excluding Miami, which has been hardest hit by negative publicity surrounding Zika, the remainder of the state recorded a 12.4 percent decrease in travelers that intended to book flights during the fall/winter season. Other areas that have recorded locally-transmitted cases of Zika virus also experienced a decrease in booking intent at nearby airports, including Tampa (-32.79 percent) and Palm Beach (-15.51 percent).
“The publicity surrounding the discovery of locally-transmitted Zika virus cases in South Florida has had an immediate and dramatic impact on the intent of travelers to book vacations to Florida during the peak travel season,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA.
Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance* through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers.