Cuba gears up for surge in American tourists

Posted: 08-Sep-15 15:18

Now that travel restrictions between the USA and Cuba have opened up, there is going to be a big shake-up in Caribbean tourism.

Cuba gears up for surge in American tourists

Things are changing quickly between the USA and Cuba and the Caribbean nation will soon be receiving an influx of American tourists. What this will bring for the future of the nation is difficult to know. It is thought that there will soon be a flood of American visitors who are fascinated by the history of Ernest Hemingway and want to see the Havana where he once lived.

Because Cuba is still mostly untouched by capitalism and modern Western culture, it appears as it was in the 1950s. This is part of the draw for many American visitors, and tourists from beyond, who see it as a time capsule that will give them a glimpse back in to the days of Hemingway.

Removing the barriers between USA and Cuba when it comes to travel will also be a main driver of growth and employment in this Caribbean island country. In the year 2012 the number of American tourists in Cuba rose by 33 per cent, to nearly 98,000. This number is only expected to grow even more in the near future.

Cuba is the currently the third most popular destination for visitors to the Caribbean, after Cancun in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. It had more than 3 million visitors in 2014, most of them originating from Canada, Europe and South America. Now that the market is open to US tourists, what will happen to Cuba tourism?

Will the Caribbean nation be able to absorb the sudden surge in tourists? This country has a very complex system of currency with a Cuban peso and a convertible peso for tourists, which make international comparisons about market size difficult. However, current estimates state that Cuba will not have the capacity to host many more tourists in the future because it will take some time for it to establish the necessary number of hotel beds and supporting infrastructure.

Of course, with this development will come changes and the charm of Cuba won't last very long once the market expands and the country becomes more developed to cope with the arrival of more American tourists. Only time will tell, but the changes to the country and the culture will make a major impact on future generations.


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