Agents said clients' inquiries about Zika have dwindled since the virus first began making headlines a year ago, likely because of a drop in coverage by consumer publications and in its presence in the U.S.

However, sellers report that clients of child-bearing age are still voicing concerns about traveling to destinations where the Zika virus is being locally transmitted, opting instead for destinations such as Hawaii or Bermuda that have no history of the disease.

The virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it has been linked to serious birth defects.

When Zika first hit the news, Margie Hand, an adviser with Andavo Travel, said she received daily calls with concerns about the virus. In recent months, though, only one client has mentioned it, requesting a Zika-free destination because she was trying to get pregnant.

"I believe we are seeing less questions or concerns because it is not as front-and- center in the media," Hand said. "I also think that once we started seeing some cases stateside, many people felt like it was everywhere."

Local transmissions of Zika were first reported in Florida in August. Late last month, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported a case of Zika virus they believed was locally transmitted in Brownsville by a mosquito.

Geoff Millar, of Ultimate All Inclusive Travel and Ultimate Hawaii Vacations, agreed that the virus' presence in the U.S. has lessened inquiries from clients, as has the lack of media attention compared with when news of its dangers first broke.

"I think it's in direct correlation to when the press stopped making a big deal out of it," Millar said. "We've seen the people talking about or asking us about Zika has dropped dramatically."

That trend could continue following the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent determination that the virus is no longer an international health emergency.

For example, after the WHO declaration, Peruvian luxury river-cruise line Aqua Expeditions said it saw a spike in bookings.

That pickup actually started at the end of August when the Peruvian Ministry of Health's 90-day health emergency due to Zika expired. Other operators on the Peruvian Amazon said that Zika has had little effect on bookings, as most of their passengers are beyond child-bearing age.

Laura Wallace, an adviser with Herff Travel, agreed that the clients most concerned with the virus are in their 20s or 30s and considering having children.

"I think there's a positive thing to that," Wallace said. "I think people are thinking outside the box."

Wallace said that her clients are instead headed to places such as Hawaii, Bermuda and Tahiti, and some who would otherwise have defaulted to a Caribbean beach vacation are now considering trips to Europe.

Millar, too, reported having seen a shift in destination interest. While his Caribbean and Mexico business is on par with where it stood at this time last year, his Hawaii business is up 30% this year.

Hand has also seen clients gravitate toward Hawaii and Bermuda. Specifically, she said, she has seen a shift away from areas that have been particularly hard-hit by Zika, such as South America and Puerto Rico.

The honeymoon and babymoon sectors are the ones that have been particularly hard-hit by the virus' effects because of the likelihood of those clients being of child-bearing age.

Jim Augerinos, president of Perfect Honeymoons, said every consultation he does with brides- and grooms-to-be at least touches upon Zika, "and they are immediately discrediting any place with Zika."

Augerinos said he believed some couples are simply not taking honeymoons, while others are postponing them or heading to Zika-free destinations.

Michelle Baran contributed to this report.


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