RICHMOND, VA — Florida and specifically Miami are being hit hard by fallout from the Zika virus. An analysis of travellers’ booking intent by Allianz Global Assistance shows the number of Americans planning to travel to Florida over the peak fall/winter season dropped by almost 15% following the discovery of locally-transmitted Zika virus in Miami.
On Aug. 1 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. The number of travellers planning to book flights to Miami was down 29.11%, while the state of Florida as a whole was down 14.84%.
Excluding Miami, which has been hardest hit by negative publicity surrounding Zika, the remainder of the state recorded a 12.4% 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%) and Palm Beach (-15.51%).