Five ways Americans are making their mark on Cuba

Posted: 29-Apr-16 11:52

With many Americans currently flocking to Cuba ahead of the predicted influx in tourism that will come about with this summer's new flight schedule, the irony is that they're already changing the country in some fairly noticeable ways. In effect, the "rush to beat the rush" is already having more of an impact on daily Cuban life than the expected Americanization of the island later this year.

Five ways Americans are making their mark on Cuba

It is something of a paradox that one of the main forces driving Americans to Cuba at present is the fact that most US tourists want to get to the country before the rest of America gets there too.

With the unwritten mantra among US visitors being “travel to Cuba before it changes forever”, more Americans are making the short hop to the island nation than ever before; and guess what? They’re already leaving a footprint.

With that in mind, here are five changes that are already shaping Cuba, according to "5 Ways Americans Are Already Changing Cuba" recently published in Conde Nast Traveler magazine:

New England revolution

Somewhat surprisingly, it is the north-eastern states that are most interested in visiting Cuba, despite Florida being home to over half the country’s American-Cuban population. With the most searches per capita for Cuban travel, it won’t be long before Quahogs make their way to the island.

Beer running dry

As a thirsty bunch, the influx of American tourists to Cuba has already had a significant impact on the country’s beer stock, with the nation’s main brewery reportedly put under strain. Apparently, Brewer Bucanero may need to increase production or import beers to keep up with the demand.

Airbnb has deep roots in Cuba

San Francisco-based Airbnb was one of the first companies to take advantage of Cuba’s network of casas particulares (private homes) and the country is now the fastest-growing market in the company’s history, moving from 1,000 listings to 4,000 across 40 cities and towns since April 2015.

A strong reception

With both Sprint and Verizon entering the country last year, Cuba has seen a marked improvement in its cell phone coverage – and many other communications companies are likely to follow suit. Currently Americans on both networks are able to make calls between the US and Cuba already.

New hotels are coming

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide recently made history by becoming the first US hotel chain allowed in Cuba for almost 60 years – and the company is set to completely overhaul three existing hotels in Havana by bringing them up to standard, thus changing the historic Cuban properties for good.

Of course, these are just some of the noticeable changes tourism has already had on Cuba’s landscape. And with visitor numbers set to increase significantly as new flight services are launched, plenty more changes, both big and small, are on the horizon.


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