The Holiday Place attends Discovering Cuba evening at the Royal Geographical Society
A special evening focusing on Cuba as a travel destination and as a deeply interesting, culturally and historically rich nation on the verge of change, was held yesterday at the Royal Geographical Society, hosted by two main speakers and Cuba experts who gave insightful presentations on the island. The Holiday Place was there as one of the exhibiting travel companies offering bespoke Cuba experiences and adventures.
A team of three Cuba experts from The Holiday Place yesterday joined a Cuba-tastic evening, organised by the Royal Geographical Society. This was a one-of-a-kind event aimed at shedding light over the amazing tourism potential that Cuba now offers.
Entitled “Discovering Cuba”, the exhibition’s aim was to raise awareness about the largest of all Caribbean’s islands’ cultural riches, developing challenges and economical changes that are taking place now and which make today the ideal time to visit it and get to know it for the first time.
Speaking on the evening, a panel of two Cuba specialists who have been travelling, studying and writing about the island for years gave a very thorough and inspiring insight on Cuba, before holding a very informative Question and Answers sessions at the end.
One of them was Claire Boobbyer, a self-declared Cubaphile, freelance travel writer, editor and photographer who first travelled to the island in 1998 and hasn’t stopped ever since; going back time and time again in a never-ending pursuit of re-discovering it. As Claire has extensively travelled the island’s depth and breadth, she was able to recommend places most tourists don’t know about, encouraged fellow female travellers to go it alone as Cuba was a very safe country to travel around in and shed light on some off-the-beaten-track journeys that most tourists overlook.
She also spoke of the fantastic opportunities Cuba presents for the curious, inquisitive traveller as it’s a mind-boggling place so full of questions with no easy answers. She actually said that the more you travel to Cuba the more questions you have and less answers you find. And even when you do find answers, she said, you don’t always understand them, but thereby precisely lies the somewhat mystical magic of this place.
The second speaker arrived to Cuba first, in 1986, and has since watched intently how the island developed over the years. Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Chairman of the International Institute for the Study of Cuba and Editor of the International Journal of Cuban Studies, also hosts a personal blog, titled The Cuba Bug, which during his presentation he introduced and explained its title of how on his first arrival to the island he got bitten by the Cuba bug and hasn’t been able to shake it off since.
His presentation on the island gave a more in-depth historical and geographical background of Cuba and how its strategic position made it Spain’s most desirable colony and the last one they eventually gave up. He explained the truths behind the myths and preconceptions most people have about the animosity between Cuban and America, and he went on to describe how far their rift actually goes, and how relations between the two countries had been changing quite dramatically, and positively, over the last few years since Obama’s election.
He updated future travellers on the many developments currently going on in the island to improve Cuba’s tourism infrastructure, including the whole remodelling of the Bay of Havana to offer more tourist attractions such as water sports and nautical pursuits and the refurbishment of the Mariel harbour, which is set to become an ultra-modern port receiving big international cruise liners and commercial ships.
Other subjects that where touched on during the Q&A session included dispelling attendees’ doubts behind the island’s dual currency system and its future as the island heads towards a one-currency goal, demystifying the topic of food quality in Cuba and how that is also changing thanks to the government’s reforms on agriculture,
Before and after the presentation, The Holiday Place, alongside other travel exhibitors present at the event, further informed attendees planning their first trip to Cuba on the prospects of travelling to Cuba, responding to any enquiries, specific interests or concerns they had as well as enlightening them on the many option The Holiday Place offers as a Cuba specialist with a 28-year-old presence of the island.
The Royal Geographical Society holds three Discovering Places events each year, focusing on regions in the world that are either remote, rapidly changing or have only recently become available to the average traveller (or all three in fact). During these evenings exhibitor stands, like the one The Holiday Place recently hosted, are there to provide visitors with further travel ideas, information and inspiration.
Previous countries have included Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Belize, Rwanda, Colombia, Madagascar, Tajikistan, Libya, Indonesia, Jordan and the Canadian Arctic, among others.
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