Americans making use of every opportunity to book Cuba holidays
Witnessing unprecedented interest in booking Cuba holidays U.S. tour operators are already planning for 2013. Reports suggest that U.S. citizens are making use of every opportunity to embark on legal travel tours to the once forbidden Caribbean island.
Ever since the Obama administration eased travel restrictions, previously in place for nearly a half century, to the Caribbean island of Cuba it seems that Cuba holidays have been on the mind of many U.S. citizens.
The current travel guidelines for U.S. citizens is a return to policies first set by the Clinton administration allowing what is termed “people to people tourism” aimed at increasing contact between ordinary citizens of both countries. Currently, Americans are not allowed to travel to the once forbidden island independently as they run the risk of being fined by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Instead, interested travellers must go through the few licensed tour operators, many of which are hardly able to meet the current demand for holidays to Cuba- a sign of the popularity of the Caribbean island and appeal of its culture to U.S. citizens. “With a few exceptions for students, journalists, aid workers and some others, going to Cuba means joining one of the new cultural and educational tours licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department. Many trips sold out quickly. Tour companies are planning more for 2013...” notes Seattle Times travel writer Carol Pucci.
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr
While the current restrictions prevent US holidaymakers from enjoying the typical luxury Caribbean holiday on the island’s beautiful beaches it has provided the perfect opportunity for them to enjoy and gain a deeper understanding of the rich Cuban culture. William Colon, president of the non profit educational organisation, the Latino Institute noted in a recent interview, “I don't know if you can call this tourism in the regular way that people come and go to the beach...Here, this is a learning experience; we are learning all about the Cuban people, and our eyes are wide open. I've been waiting for the last 10 years to do this trip, and finally we are able to do it.”
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr
The surge in the number of Americans wishing to embark on a cultural Cuba holidays experience has posed both opportunities and challenges for the Cuba hotels who are struggling to meet the demand for rooms. In a Reuters report at the beginning of 2012 one travel agency director summed up the situation stating, “We need more hotels and we need more four-star hotels...we will have five years of difficulty [while more hotels are being built]… Business will be good for everybody because people are coming in, but everybody will have to fight for rooms”.
The Cuban government has since given assurances that steps would be put in place to improve the infrastructure at existing Cuba hotels in addition to the construction of new hotels in key areas.
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