Cuba becoming even more accessible for American holidaymakers
With relations between Cuba and the US improving dramatically in recent times the island that has for so long been the forbidden fruit of the Caribbean is now becoming even more accessible for US holidaymakers. Travel agencies are eager to meet the growing demand for travel to Cuba with one online agency offering indirect flights to Cuba.
The United States continues to take significant strides in normalizing relations with Cuba and one of the benefits of the ongoing efforts to improve the relationship between the two countries is easier access to Cuba for American holidaymakers.
Americans booking travel to Cuba must still have a "purposeful" reason for their trip with all visits required to fall into one of 12 categories including religious, journalistic, humanitarian or family visits, however, it is no longer necessary to apply for permission from the federal government.
The floodgates are not open quite yet though as the federal government reserves the right to ask for details of an individual's trip, in the form of an itinerary or hotel receipt for example, and direct commercial flights to Cuba from America are not yet available.
US and Cuban aviation officials have recently met to thrash out plans to re establish regular direct flights between the two countries. Travel agencies are eager to cash in on the opportunity that the more relaxed travel restrictions provide.
California based travel agency CheapAir was the first online agency to offer indirect commercial flights to Cuba via Mexico or Panama and Florida based ferry companies are said to be preparing to offer a catamaran service between the Florida Keys and Havana while Travel search engine Kayak have now begun to include results for flights to Cuba and hotels in Cuba.
Already demand for flights to Cuba has skyrocketed. The CEO of CheapAir, Jeff Klee, following his firm's decision to offer commercial flights to Cuba. Mr Klee explained:
"When we first announced it, the traffic was so overwhelming it brought us down for a little while. For the first couple of hours, we had over 10,000 searches."
Recent legislation had been put forward to Congress to permanently drop all travel restrictions between the USA and Cuba. In the event that Congress approves the proposal, many expect that even more Americans will develop a taste for, what has for so long been, the forbidden fruit of the Caribbean.
The IMF has predicted that should the embargo be fully lifted, the number of US holidaymakers travelling to Cuba could easily double from the current 90 000 per year.
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