In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to avoid traveling to certain Latin American and Caribbean countries affected by an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which can cause fetal brain damage and other problems. In April, the warning expanded to include 20 more Caribbean locales. Have concerns over the virus slowed down the Caribbean's busiest travel season? The Caribbean Tourism Organization says no, announcing this month a 7.3% rise in bookings from the same period last year. Some places like Puerto Rico, though, reported declines as the year went on and the disease continued to spread. Figures aren't broken down by age, but experts say that the slowdown is likely due to travelers in their childbearing years staying away.
To ease concerns, some hotels are taking preventive steps such as spraying public areas with insecticide and providing guests with mosquito repellant. To drum up business, some resorts are reportedly offering big discounts on vacation packages.