February 23, 2016 15:43 ET

Zika Fails to Take a Bite Out of Travel Bookings

Travel Agents Look at the Books and See Little Fallout From the Spread of the Menacing Mosquito

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - February 23, 2016) - Zika exposure, like the Ebola plague of 2014, is spreading fast and through regions beloved by many as tourism havens. However, recent polls show the problem is not severe enough to stop travelers from heading to beaches in the Caribbean and other Zika-target areas. A survey of travel agents by the Travel Leaders Group released this month showed few cancellations and an attitude that it is still "game on" for travelers heading to the Caribbean and Latin America to get away from the cold and steal some days in the sun.

When asked "How many clients are cancelling their travel plans because of the Zika virus," 74.1% of the Group's travel agents reported "none" for clients in their 20s and 30s; 89.8% stated no cancellations at all for clients in their 40s and 50s; and 93.0% stated there are no cancellations for clients 60 years and older.

The study, a headline feature in this week's Travel-Intel, published by, shows certain resilience by U.S. travelers, who believe that traveling smart is the way to approach their travel plans: some careful habits applied along with strong insect bite protection go a long way for keeping plans on track.

The publication also looks at the health benefits of chocolate and how they are being applied to cruising these days as more and more cruise lines put the spotlight on satisfying the needs of chocoholics with chocolate buffets and an array of creative cacao-based concoctions. Princess Cruises even offers a "chocolate journeys" program that turns chocolate into a 24-hour event.

Weddings, too, are in focus, especially for couples looking to get married in Italy. Travel-Intel looks at La Corte dei Papi as a perfect spot for weddings in the foothills of Italy with fairy-tale interiors, a stocked cellar with top Italian wines, gourmet dining and an idyllic setting for nuptials under the Tuscan sun. The resort, a 17th century manor and with 15 palatial rooms, is a member of the exclusive Kurtz-Ahlers collection of luxury hotels, resorts and destination specialists.

Getting there can be half the game, for those who are willing to hunt for treasure inside airline ticket bookings. Travel-Intel shows where the "hidden tickets" are in many point-to-point flight plans. Certain "freedoms" that airlines negotiate between countries allow flights to stop at mid points between destinations and also provide an opportunity for free stopovers for passengers who want to disembark. Travel-Intel shows flyers where the hidden cities are and how travelers can stay the night or stay a year before getting back on the plane and continuing to their intended destination.

These stories and others are featured in the latest issue of Travel-Intel, a weekly publication sent to 103,000 travel agents in North America and posted on

"Travel-Intel is important not only for travel agents to read, as they are the parties who are responsible for helping travelers make the right decisions, but also for those who travel often and who want to keep up with a variety of destinations and travel trends," says Lark Gould, editor and content director for Travel-Intel. "So we have been able to publish weekly travel grams for the past six years that keep agents informed and keep travelers traveling."

Travel-Intel is written by travel industry journalists and focuses on changing trends in travel. Stories come from a variety of places and positions, whether travel industry conferences and expos, or onsite at popular hotels, exotic resorts, cruise ships and ports, and destinations near and far. Current issues and archives can be viewed at

As a veteran travel journalist who has been covering the travel industry for more than 30 years, Lark Gould puts her incisive perspective into the weekly publication, with features and news updates, and also "packages" issues that present great travel deals to be found at hotels and resort locations worldwide. Travel-Intel can be viewed as a stand-alone publication on Gould publishes travel columns and stories for Barclay's Travel Community, the Washington Times, Business Travel Executive, and Business Traveler USA, as well as eTravel news and Larkslist.

About is the parent company of two well established tourism websites and two trade newsletters., The only Worldwide Directory of Tours and Vacations, provides a deep and searchable worldwide database of tour and vacation operators and the resource for local sightseeing and attractions in cities and towns around the world. Trade newsletters include Travel-Intel a weekly compendium for retail agents with a circulation of 103,000 to North American Travel Agents and Sightseeing News & Views bi-monthly newsletter distributed to over 30,000 travel professionals. celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015 and is a proud partner of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

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