For hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico, the news came in time for their peak season: On Nov. 18, the World Health Organization declared that Zika was no longer a global health emergency and should be considered a dangerous mosquito-borne virus.
After more than six months of weak traveler demand, the interest in visiting these Zika-affected destinations, in some cases, was immediate and strong, the New York Times reports.
Within a day of the news, the Signature Travel Network, which has more than 7,000 agents, had received more than 1,000 inquiries for Caribbean and Mexico trips and several hundred confirmed bookings, said Ignacio Maza, executive vice president. “Reservations to these areas were slow this year because of the virus, but the pickup was speedy,” he said.
CheapCaribbean.com, which sells affordable Caribbean and Mexico trips, also saw a jump. “Though we didn’t have a decrease in trips to the Caribbean and Mexico because of Zika, when the W.H.O. status changed, we had our best two weeks of business to these destinations, thus far, for this year,” said Dan Marmontello, the site’s Caribbean product manager.
On the luxury end, the New York City travel company Ovation Vacations booked 93 Caribbean and Mexico trips in the week after W.H.O.’s announcement, said Julie Danziger, a managing director.
Some hotels, too, reported an instant turnaround. Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico’s Riviera Maya saw a spike in reservations for next year after the W.H.O. news, said Sergio Serra, the area director of sales and marketing for Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts in the Americas.
“Since Zika became a threat in late January, our typically busy periods haven’t been nearly as busy, but we are happily surprised by the boost in business we are getting now,” he said.
This surge in the Caribbean and Mexico comes after a tough year for the hotels there.
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