Excitement builds as USA-Cuba travel draws near

Posted: 02-Mar-16 18:31

American President Barack Obama will visit Cuba this month in celebration of first commercial travel agreement between the two countries for over 50 years. Obama will become the first US president to visit the island in nearly 90 years - and excitement is growing.

Excitement builds as USA-Cuba travel draws near

The long-standing cold front between America and Cuba looks set to finally thaw this month as Barack Obama becomes the first American president to visit the island nation in nearly 90 years.

The President's diplomatic assignment comes just weeks after a formal agreement was reached for commercial air travel between Cuba and America to be resumed for the first time in half a century.

Though the new flight schedule is not set to be implemented until the summer and deals must still be thrashed out between US airlines and airports in Cuba, the decision is being hailed as a major step forward for international relations and should present an economic boon for both countries.

Despite currently being shackled by numerous restrictions, Americans have been visiting Cuba in droves for several years now, with one of the main forms of approved tourism coming in the form of educational visits – a service a group called Road Scholar has been providing for some time already.

Cuban travel "not that simple"

Road Scholar, a non-profit organisation that has operated during both the Clinton and Obama administrations, has been taking Americans to Cuba on a regular basis for several years – but the group's president and CEO, Jim Moses, warns that Cuba is unlike most tourist destinations.

"I think it's a step forward in normalizing relations, but I'm curious to know what people think is going to happen when they arrive in Cuba. [For] an individual, just walking around Cuba is not easy, not that there's any danger, but there's a limited infrastructure."

Mr Moses told Voice of America, he also explained:

"I think that if Americans are travelling to Cuba, are fully informed and have advice on the way, it might work – it's just not that simple."

Nevertheless, Moses' company has reported an increase in the number of inquiries on travel to Cuba since the Obama administration opened normalization talks with the Castro government and believes that Road Scholar can still teach people about Cuba before the influx of tourism begins.


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