Americans "Rushing To Beat The Rush" In Cuba

Posted: 13-Apr-16 09:39

With Cuba expecting to be overwhelmed by an influx of American visitors when commercial flights resume in the summer, locals are reporting that those "rushing to beat the rush" have already created an unsustainable bubble. With accommodation, facilities and even grocery store food all at a premium, it would seem the country has a long way to go before it is ready for the real thing.

Americans "Rushing To Beat The Rush" In Cuba

Last year, a record 3.5 million people visited the island of Cuba according to state news media, and with one million travellers touching down in 2016 already, that number looks set to be easily surpassed when the new regulations regarding solo travel come into effect for American tourists.

Indeed, with US President Barack Obama recently announcing a new set of travel provisions for Americans that will allow them to visit the country without the old constraints of a pre-arranged group itinerary, it is expected that this summer will see an avalanche of visitors all taking advantage.

Unfortunately, according to both locals and Cuban travel experts, at present the country is a long way away from being able to provide the infrastructure necessary to support such a large number of visitors – and even with two new major hotel deals in the pipeline, it looks as though accommodation, dining and even necessities like bottled water are all going to be at a premium.

The Rush To Beat The Rush

With cab drivers allegedly charging stranded visitors $10 a night to sleep in the back of their cars and many tourist groups being re-routed to coastal resorts just to find accommodation, it seems the forthcoming travel boom is already well in effect or – as Cuban tour guide Tony Pandola told the New York Times– “it’s like the Americans are rushing to Cuba before the Americans rush to Cuba.”

As a result of the current raft of visitors, state hotels have already increased their prices by one third as demand for lodging far exceeds the country’s ability to meet it, while those offering private accommodation through services like Airbnb are reportedly buying up supplies including chicken, soft drinks and bottled water just so they have enough to provide for their steady stream of guests.

The state tourism company, Gaviota, meanwhile said that it plans to add 50,000 hotel rooms by 2020, with Havana being the main priority. With the goal being to position the city as “one of the top destinations for urban tourism in the Caribbean”, the current situation, however, would suggest that the island is far from ready from being able to provide for the “rush after the rush” later this year.


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