Cuba Handling opens Cuba up to private aircraft passengers

Posted: 22-Sep-16 13:17

US-based Cuba Handling, a firm which specializes in unique, VIP itineraries and private jet travel, is looking to take advantage of reduced travel restrictions from North America to the socialist country. And with a further 500,000 Americans expected to visit Cuba each year, business could be booming…

Cuba Handling opens Cuba up to private aircraft passengers

Cuba’s tourism economy is booming, if recent statistics are much to go by, despite significant red tape threatening to stand in the way of many people looking to make a trip to the nation. With more than 3 million foreign nationals visiting annually, a further 500,000 Americans are now expected to arrive each year following the reduction of long-standing restrictions on U.S. nationals travelling to the island.

One firm in particular already has a well-established reputation when it comes to facilitating passage from America to Cuba. Cuba Handling was established by Eric Norber, who ran Cultural Contrast for 26 years following a trip to the Caribbean island in 1990. His new company deals with aircraft permits, flight logistics and passenger itineraries for U.S. nationals looking to visit Cuba independently, specialising in private jet charters and luxury, experience-led vacations.

Currently, Americans are not permitted to enter Cuba for purely tourism activities, although travel between the two is now far easier than it was thanks to modifications to an embargo that has been in place for 50 years, as rolled out under the administration of President Barack Obama. The idea is, therefore, to pull in customers that wish to visit for more reasons than simply sightseeing, taking advantage of soaring numbers of overseas arrivals that are only expected to continue increasing in the next few years.

Norber told online news outlet Caribbean News Digital: 

I fell in love with the spirit and culture of Cuba when I first visited in 1990 and created a business to allow legal cultural exchanges between Americans and Cubans

and said,

We create experiences – not just trips.

Cuba Handling also offers options to pre-pay for aircraft services and specialist itineraries, which can dramatically reduce the cost of visiting the country due to complications in paying with cash upon arrival on the island. At the moment, U.S.-based credit cards are not accepted by many Cuban businesses, and transferring U.S. dollars into Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) comes with a hefty 13% service charge, dramatically increasing the overall costs incurred by the individual.

“While Americans are interested in travelling to Cuba, they are rightfully concerned about doing it correctly to avoid logistic and legal issues. Using our experience, Cuba Handling ‘handles’ everything so there are no concerns. We want our clients to experience Cuba now, unspoiled by commercial tourism and in its emerging state. Cuba is really an experience not just a destination. We look forward to helping people experience it to its fullest – especially when flying by private aircraft,”

Norber explained to the website. 

It’s certainly a very shrewd move on the part of the businessman, with the expected influx of American tourists predicted for Cuba in the next few years. Although much of this will be on chartered and new scheduled flights, with other travel options set to include ferries from Florida, the elite have already claimed their stake on the island- with the likes of Madonna recently visiting- a trend that’s only set to continue as the country’s accommodation, entertainment and tourism offerings mature in line with growing demand.


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