El Yunque and Baracoa

El Yunque and Baracoa

Doubts about whether change will be come to Cuba are now  replaced with questions of when and how great change will be. Under the President’s Charting a New Course on Cuba initiative, change will be coming to Cuba on every front. If Congress comes on board, the changes will be even more sweeping and business opportunities will abound, a fact US business leaders and CNBC readily acknowledge.

Faced with a very real humanitarian crises, Cuba needs everything. From housing to infrastructure to telecommunications and Internet service providers and accompanying hardware. As business in the agriculture industry should see, sources for bio-products and more have amazing potential for Cuba and the world.

Perhaps Cuba’s antiquated agricultural processes will begin to resemble 21st century farming instead of 19th century farming. But, farming is not alone. In Cuba, virtually every sector of a modern day economy has room for improvement and development.

Yordi at El Morro Santiago

Yordi at El Morro Santiago

Tourism is one of those industries that has vast, undiscovered potential that can bent travelers and Cuba. While details of Obama’s initiative will take some time to crystallize, tourists on People-to-People Cuba tours and traveling to Cuba for other reasons will enjoy many newfound benefits and freedoms. This is a list of what we can definitely see that should change in 2015. More travel freedoms could follow soon if Congress can overcome Marco Rubio-led resistance.

Credit and Debit Cards – Tourists will almost immediately enjoy the convenience and luxury of being able to use their credit and debit cards on the island. Currently, US travelers must plan their cash expenditures in advance. This can lead to unnecessary inconveniences when suddenly you find yourself in an unexpected setting where you would like to spend extra time and money.

More Cuba Exports – Americans have always been able to bring art home, but now they will be permitted to bring back up to $400 in rum or other alcohol and cigar products. This should translate to jobs. This change must encourage the new wave of privately held agricultural businesses.

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More Cruises – We will be covering this in more detail tomorrow but look for cruise lines to become more aggressive with their Cuba tours. If tourism and travel to Cuba expand as projected, the country will run behind in tourist accommodations for years to come. This means more jobs. Currently, Cuba is the second most popular Caribbean destination for Americans. Look for that figure to rise and for cruise ships to capitalize on this dynamic way to see and experience Cuba.

More Trips From Florida – Floridians are excited about the future tourism opportunities in Cuba. They see Cuba not as competition but as part of the Florida vacation experience. From Tampa to Sarasota to Port Manatee and Miami, Florida travel industry professionals see terrific opportunities for short-term getaways from the Sunshine State to its southern island neighbor.

Travel Expansion – Look for every type of travel provider to expand their presence in Cuba. From airlines to shipping and cruises, demand for travel will rise significantly. Airlines will be pressured to keep pace. Look for flights from other than Miami airports. Remember JFK already has one weekly direct flight to Havana scheduled to begin in March. As travel guidance becomes clearer, look for more of the same from other cities.

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Prices Should Lower – If Congress were to ease all travel restrictions, a few things will change dramatically. The challenged tourism infrastructure would be further tested and require significant investment. But, look for the cost of a vacation in Cuba to lower. Part of the reason People-to-People tours cost as much as they do is that guides and specific schedules must be included. The government takes a piece of everything. It may not happen overnight, but the cost of a stay in Cuba for Americans will lower and be comparable to what Canadians pay now.

A report from the Associated Press indicates that 170,000 Americans visited Cuba in 2013. A report from Quartz indicates that during the first nine months of 2014, Cuba was the second most popular Caribbean destination for Americans. Do you need advice on planning you Cuba trip? Contact Dave at Info@travelguidecuba.com for all details.

Travel Competition – The New York Times suggests that People-to-People tourist operators have a bit of a “monopoly” when it comes to Cuba. Obama’s new policies will create greater demand, more options and a more competitive environment from airline tickets to hotel accommodations.

tourists

tourists

Expanded Internet – One drawback for Americans planning excursions to Cuba has been the lack of reliable Internet services. Obama has singled out Cuba as important to Cuba’s future. Look for massive infrastructure investment here.

More Cuba Awareness – The time has come for Americans to re-engage with Cuba and its people. Known for its music, architecture and antiquated, historic lifestyle, it is the people and their culture that are most fascinating. As more Americans discover Cuba and its remarkable climate and geography, they are likely to not only appreciate Obama’s initiative but wonder what took so long. Americans will enjoy the sights and sounds but will be ever aware of the humanitarian struggles that life in Cuba presents.

Travelguidecuba.com is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with International Expeditions, a licensed provider. This International Expedition People-to-People tour is licensed (CT-2013-299822-1)by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.

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