Why older travelers are less likely to cancel travel plans over Zika virus

Brazil Zika Mosquito Eradication

In this Feb. 1, 2016 photo, a technician from the British biotec company Oxitec holds with a bag of blood to feed Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that were genetically modified to produce offspring that don’t live, before releasing them into the wild as part of an effort to kill the local Aedes population, which is a vector for the spread of the Zika virus, in Campinas, Brazil. 

(Andre Penner / AP)

Travelers 60 years or older are less likely than young travelers to cancel their travel plans because of fear over the Zika virus, according to a survey released Monday.

The results of the survey of 1,102 travel agents came on the same day that President Obama called on Congress to set aside more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus, which is spread mainly by mosquitoes and raises the risk of birth defects for pregnant women.

The survey by Travel Leaders Group, a Minnesota travel agency company, found that 93% of travel agents said they have had no cancellations by clients 60 years or older, with about 5% saying they have had older clients canceling plans and less than 3% having the clients delay trips.

Meanwhile, 74% of travel agents said they had no cancellations among travelers in their 20s and 30s, with 22% saying they have had young clients cancel trips and 14% saying they had a few young clients who have delayed trips.


The Travel Leaders Group believes younger travelers are more likely to cancel or delay a trip because such travelers are more likely to be pregnant and face greater health risks from the Zika virus than older travelers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women to consider postponing travel to areas hard hit by the virus.

“Armed with the facts, most travelers are opting to travel even as they heed expert advice for avoiding mosquito bites,” said Nina Chacko, chief executive for Travel Leaders Group.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin.


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