Trade reports 'minimum impact' of Zika virus

Trade reports 'minimum impact' of Zika virus

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The Zika virus is having “minimal” impact on travel to the Caribbean and South America, the trade has reported.

On the whole, agents and operators said they had seen a small number of cancellations and no noticeable drop in bookings since the outbreak of the disease, which was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation last week.

Abta is continuing to advise pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant to consult their GP if they are due to travel to affected countries.

But it stated: “Members are reporting that the number of UK travellers who have cancelled trips as a result of the Zika virus is minimal.”

A spokeswoman from honeymoon specialist Kuoni said: “We’ve moved a handful of customers to different destinations, mostly those who are pregnant or planning to be. But bookings have not dropped and the phones are not going nuts.”

She said there were a lot of Caribbean islands not affected, adding: “We need to keep it in perspective. If it spreads it would be a concern, but at the moment it’s manageable.”

Caribbean couples-only resort specialist Sandals said it too had seen very little impact on bookings, while adventure tour operator Intrepid Travel said it had seen a “slight decline” in new bookings to the Americas but had not received any requests to cancel or amend trips.

But a small number of agents on social media claimed they had lost “thousands of pounds” worth of cruise bookings due to Zika-related cancellations, while Elite Travel Group chief executive Neil Basnett said one couple booked to go to Costa Rica wanted to cancel but were set to lose £8,000.

The mosquito-borne illness has been reported in 30 countries.

The Association of British Insurers said it was too early to reveal the number of claims made for trips cancelled due to Zika, but said most policies would cover costs provided they had a medical note advising them not to travel and the holiday was purchased before the advice changed.


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