We surveyed nearly 2,000 couples about their future travel plans and different factors that may have influenced their decisions, namely the Zika virus. The often mosquito-transmitted disease has affected regions in the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and Central America, the southern Continental US (particularly Florida), South Pacific Islands and Africa—most of which are popular wedding and honeymoon destinations. (The Caribbean and Mexico rank first and second, respectively, as our couples’ top choices for an international destination wedding, according to The Knot 2015 Real Weddings study.)
It turns out, concern over Zika hasn’t actually had a huge impact on wanderlust in 2016 overall. Responses to our survey revealed that only 15 percent of couples cancelled or changed their travel plans in the past year due to Zika anxiety, while 85 percent said the virus had no effect on their scheduled vacations. Of the 15 percent of people who did alter or pull the plug on travel, the majority (55 percent) cancelled trips to the Caribbean, followed by 26 percent to Mexico and 18 percent to the Continental US. And while almost everyone (95 percent) admits to uneasiness about Zika in Florida, a mere 3 percent actually cancelled trips to the US hotspot in the past year—and more than half of those few respondents cancelled for reasons other than Zika.
Overall, 97 percent of couples still have travels plans in the near future. And, surprisingly, the destinations where Zika seems to be the biggest concern for those surveyed (South America, the Caribbean and Continental US) aren’t off-limits, and the proof’s in the numbers. Here’s a breakdown of where couples are headed:
- 53 percent to somewhere within the Continental US
- 46 percent to the Caribbean
- 23 percent to Mexico
- 14 percent to Asia
- 11 percent to South Pacific
- 9 percent to Central America
- 8 percent to South America
- 6 to Africa
Of the 3 percent of couples who do not plan on traveling in the near future, 23 percent say they’re avoiding a trip due to Zika, while the majority (61 percent) are choosing not to go because of budget limitations.
Looking ahead, about half of our surveyed couples believe Zika is likely to sway any future travel plans, which makes perfect sense, since 76 percent of them want to have children within the next five years. But look at it this way, this could mean some pretty amazing vacation deals for the other half of couples who are less worried about changing their travel plans.