Priceline looking to expand into Cuba

Posted: 23-Sep-15 09:43

Priceline is the most profitable online travel services company in the world and they are currently planning to expand their operations into Cuba in the future, thanks to the easing of restrictions between the USA and the Communist island in the Caribbean.

Priceline looking to expand into Cuba

Priceline Group Inc. is currently investigating ways to grow its operation and expand into Cuba, a move that was announced after recent rules were changed that ease trade and investment between the USA and the long-forbidden Caribbean nation.

Earlier this summer Cuba and the USA inched toward normal relationships after hostility for more than half a century after the 1959 revolution. These two nations have restored their diplomatic ties and the embassies reopened only a few weeks ago. This change will make a major impact on the economy of Cuba, as there will be a huge influx of visitors.

Priceline is in the process of evaluating regulations that will allow American companies to set up bank accounts and offices in Cuba. According to Leslie Cafferty, the Vice President of Global Communications, Priceline is exploring all of the new options and hopes to have operations up and running soon.

Kayak is a travel search engine that takes listings from other search tools on the web and is a subsidiary company of Priceline Group. Kayak is already showing flight and hotel listings for Cuba so that American travellers can shop online for their holiday – something that would be difficult to imagine only a few short years ago.

The changes in the regulations do not allow for leisure travel on the island, so things still have a long way to go. At the moment Americans are only allowed to visit Cuba if they are taking part in a cultural visit or exchange, visiting family, volunteering or participating in an otherwise approved type of visit. Visits for tourism reasons are not allowed, so many tour companies are creating culture-rich itineraries that involve local interactions and will meet the requirements.

Cafferty believes that the regulations will help pave the way for Americans to be able to book their travel to Cuba directly. Booking.com is the largest and most widespread subsidiary of Priceline and the company hopes that this booking engine will be able to offer booking options in Cuba for US citizens in the near future.


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