Thursday, December 18, 2014
DEC 18 IS CUBA NOW OPEN FOR US TOURISM?
For American adventure travelers, yesterday's announcement that the US and Cuba would be resuming relations came as GREAT NEWS! We instantly began plotting our next vacation to the tropical isle of splendor. Not surprisingly, numerous readers also began plotting their next vacation, and sent us a slew of questions. So let's get started..
What happened yesterday in Washington? Pete, Pittsburgh. For the last year, Obama, Raul Castro and the Pope have been conducting secret meetings in Canada. Yesterday's announcement that Cuba / USA relations were being restored was a culmination of these talks. When first elected, we here at the DUNER BLOG had high hopes for the Obama Administration's foreign policy with regards to the Third World. It took six years, but he is finally delivering on campaign promises.
Can I leave for Cuba tomorrow? Biff, New York. Don't pack those bag just yet, Biff! Since losing control of Congress, Obama has since relied heavily on executive orders to get things done. This is no exception. However, in order to lift the actual travel ban, we need Congressional approval. Sigh! Some Republicans, like Jeb Bush, have recently called for strengthening of the ban. Stay tuned..
Jim, Buffalo. Ready and willing, Jim! Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, financial aid to Cuba disappeared and the nation opened its doors to European and Canadian tourists. After getting the obligatory tourist card at the airport, visitors are free to explore the entire island. Except...of course...Guantanamo Bay. Last year, about two million tourists visited Cuba, which is slightly more than the totals for neighboring Jamaica.
How is the Travel Industry responding? Paul, Oakland. They are showing cautious optimism. "We look forward to the day...hopefully soon...when all Americans have the opportunity to travel to Cuba," said Orbitz CEO Barney Harford. Currently, JetBlue and American Airlines offer charter services for those industrious enough to fight through the paperwork. We see many more carriers joining soon. We are also hopeful that the famed Miami - Havana Ferry Service will resume after 55 years!