Cuba no longer 'dragging its heels'
01 April 2016 10:57
Cuba is no longer dragging its heels when it comes to tourism, new figures suggest.
For decades the politically adrift Caribbean island has been uncommercialised.
But Barack Obama's visit there last week has sparked a further huge jump in the number of holidays being considered there.
Tourists are eager to explore Cuba's old school charms before it becomes westernised.
This continues the trend since December 2014. Britons have been flocking there since steps towards relaxing the long trade embargo were initiated in that month.
Trying to beat the clock
British tourists eager to explore Cuba before the chain stores roll into town can give themselves peace of mind by taking out trusted travel insurance.
This gives them protection should the unexpected happen, such as lost flight tickets or documentation, missing luggage and stolen souvenirs.
The stats all point to Cuba becoming increasingly popular since trade barriers started coming down during December 2014:
• The Skyscanner comparison site says its British searches for Cuba jumped 48% in only 24 hours after the US president's momentous trip there
• The Western & Oriental luxury holiday firm reports a 200% jump in Cuban enquiries compared to the same period last year
• The US Travel Agents Organisation estimates that the number of US holidaymakers travelling to Cuba could hit as many as 1.5 million during the next decade
Patience may be required
UK tourists may have to display patience, however eager they are to get a slice of Castro's Cuba before more western influences take over.
Press Association writer Sarah Marshall says there is no guarantee that booking tomorrow will mean travellers will be able to see the old Cuba in the immediate future.
She claims this could take months in some cases as supply struggles to catch up with the growing demand.
But Cuba's expansion plan to cater for the rise in numbers is well under way.
Melia Hotels International, for example, says it will accommodate thousands more holidaymakers with three additional planned sites bringing 2,000 extra rooms.