Cuba – New frontier for travel companies

Now that Cuba is opening up for American travelers (almost !), the travel industry is planning a major expansion to cater to a large number of tourists visiting the island. Airlines, Cruise lines and agents are getting ready to handle visitors under the new rules which allow “purposeful” trips like humanatarian or educational missions. However most agencies are preparing for the open travel, which they beleive would be in the near future.

Carnival cruises said in a statement that it will begin cruises to the island next May for cultural exchanges.

Cuba already ranks as the second-largest tourist destination in the Caribbean and could become the number one if American travel is completely opened up. As per most estimates, Americans already account for one in six of Cuba’s 3 million visitors (Mostly Cuban-Americans visiting family). Once the travel policies/regulations are cleared, that number is expected to increase by 1.5 to 2 million.

Contingent on Cuban government approval, Carnival plans weeklong trips from Miami every other week starting in May on a 710-passenger ship ( fathom) which specializes in “social-impact travel” such as volunteering & cultural exchange.