Photo (cc) by _Pek_
It appears that many Americans want to experience the rum, cigars and beautiful beaches of Cuba.
On the heels of President Obama’s announcement about new diplomatic relations with Cuba, including relaxed travel restrictions, TripAdvisor.com experienced a 300 percent spike in searches for Cuban travel information by U.S. users of TripAdvisor, compared with the previous day.
TripAdvisor also reported that in a new poll, 55 percent of travelers said eased travel restrictions to Cuba will boost their interest in vacationing on the Caribbean island in the next year.
“Cuba is already hot among the global TripAdvisor community, with Havana being named the No. 1 Destination on the Rise last year in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards,” TripAdvisor said.
According to The Associated Press, 124,000 Americans were authorized to travel to Cuba last year. “While most Americans are prohibited from traveling to Cuba and spending money there, close relatives of Cubans, academics and people on accredited cultural education programs can visit,” the AP said.
You may be champing at the bit to get to Cuba, but don’t pack your bag just yet. Though the White House has announced that travel restrictions will be loosened, those changes will take some time. According to Money, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said it will release revised travel rules for Cuba in “the coming weeks.”
But Americans’ interest in Cuba looks to be piqued, and relaxed restrictions will likely spur many Americans to book a trip as soon as the revised rules are announced. According to the AP:
“Once people get a glimpse of Cuba, they always want to see more,” said Katharine Bonner, a senior executive at Connecticut-based tour operator Tauck, which runs tours there under a cultural exchange license. “Americans are very curious about a country that is 90 miles off our coast but has been off-limits for so long.”
One immediate change for licensed travelers to Cuba is that they can bring back $400 in Cuban goods, including the famous Cuban cigars and rum (or other alcohol), the AP said.
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