Cuban Curiousity DRAWS BOOKINGS
THE loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba in recent years has resulted in an influx of bookings to the Caribbean island nation. Travellers are itching to experience the socialist outpost before it changes for good and they can no longer experience the ‘real’ Cuba. Tour operators have witnessed this eagerness firsthand. “Cuba has been one of the strongest holiday destinations of 2016,” managing director of Contours Travel Ted Dziadkiewicz told travel bulletin. “There has been a notable increase in bookings that has maintained itself for the first half of 2016,” he continues. Head of marketing, sales and product at Travel the World, Deb Corbett agreed, saying “Interest in Cuba as a destination has increased dramatically over the last couple of years”. Both Dziadkiewicz and Corbett believe one of the key reasons for the hype around Cuba is media focus that has been on the destination. “With the amount of media coverage around Cuba and the US normalising their relationship, people are under the impression that Cuba will change overnight and they want to get there and see it before it does,” Dziadkiewicz explains. “However, we cannot stress enough that these changes occur over time and that they still have time to see the ‘original’ Cuba”. This year, for the first time, tour operator Tauck, which is represented in Australia by Travel the World, has offered two Cuban itineraries. Due to their incredible popularity both the journeys will be offered again in 2017 with an increased number of departure dates for both the seven and 13-day itineraries. “Many of the dates are already sold out,” says Corbett. Contours offers ten Cuban journeys from adventure trips to Havana stopovers. Dziadkiewicz predicts the direct flights from the USA starting up later this year will see Cuba continue its fast paced growth in popularity and demand.