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Rise in Cuba holidays popularity will place region as number one caribbean destination

  • 08-May-10 09:34
  • Cuba
  • Jamaica Gleaner Travel

As the number if travellers taking Cuba holiday continues to increase, tourism stakeholders and officials have agreed that the Caribbean Spanish-speaking island has the potential to become the leading tourism destination in the region.

Rise in Cuba holidays popularity will place region as number one caribbean destination

Attendees at this year's Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference which was titled "Cuba- Will It Become The #1 Tourism Destination?", the Director of Britain's Cuba Initiative, David Jessop, and Dr Timothy Ashby, a specialist on Cuba's trade and investment strategies, both agreed that the stunning island looks set to become the top destination for travellers taking Caribbean holidays.

Ashby believes that the Cuba could move up from its number-three position to the top position in as little as two years if the US-Cuba travel embargo is lifted by President Barack Obama. He said:

"Cuba could easily be number one if the ban is lifted by the United States. They had well over 2.4 million visitors in 2009, and they were not from the US."

The Cuba government and the American Society of Travel Agents estimate that if the ban is lifted by US congress, there will be at least one million travelling to the region and enjoying Cuba holidays within one year and three million visitors within three years. The only setback for the predicted influx of visitors is the country's infrastructure which is not yet able to accommodate tourists with its current number of Cuba hotels and resorts.

Jessop explained:

"There would have to be significantly more investment in a wider range of branded hotels and attractions; there would have to be a much stronger top end of the market offering; and there would have to be a dramatic increase in airlift from the US, offering connections to both US citizens and others to travel freely in and out of Cuba. All of these are matters that Cuba itself will have to balance with its desire to maintain its unique culture and social system."

Cuba's new position is likely to be harmful to the smaller Caribbean islands except for the ones who can differentiate themselves from Cuban culture and continue to attract visitors. The number of travellers taking Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Virgin Islands and Jamaica holidays is not likely to be affected.

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