Renewal of flight routes to Cienfuegos boosts tourism in Cuba’s southern pearl

Posted: 17-Dec-18 09:09

Last November charter flights linking the Miami-Cienfuegos route took off once again, signalling a boost in the southern Cuban city's tourism and also evidencing that the number of U.S. travellers to the island is on the up again after a period of stagnation following President Trump's reversal of some of Obama's travel-friendly policies towards Cuba. It definitely looks like things are up for American visitors and not only for quintessential Havana, but other colonial beauties like Cienfuegos.

Renewal of flight routes to Cienfuegos boosts tourism in Cuba’s southern pearl

The launch of new charter flights linking Miami and Cienfuegos marked the re-opening the international terminal area of the Jaime Gonzalez airport, which had remained close for most of the year so far. On 16th number it reopened its gates to welcome the first 150 U.S. visitors arriving onboard a Boeing 737 chartered by Cuba Travel Services, a Miami-based tour operator.

On 16th November the first Miami-Cienfuegos-Miami charter route took to the skies, with tickets having gone on sale at the company´s tour desks in Havana and Miami.

According to Salustiano Otero Aguilar, Havanatur S.A.’s director the new flight route should fly every Friday, and for the month of December they hope to add another frequency, which would mean Monday and Friday flights.

After the frequency of U.S.-Cuba flights established during the Obama era of reconciliation were reduced following President Trump´s reversal of some of Obama’s Cuba-friendly policies, the number of U.S. tourist arrivals to Cuba had waned somewhat. But already there are signs that despite the new travel restrictions, Cuba is starting to pique the interest of U.S. travellers once again as demand for the island has been growing since summer this year. Backing this increase in demand is the launch of JetBlue’s first Boston-Havana route earlier this month and a U.S.-based Cuba travel specialist’s claim that bookings to Cuba were 25 percent up this year in comparison to the same time period in 2017, which coincided with the time that Trump sanctioned the presidential Memorandum in Miami (16th June 2017). This meant that in response to the hostile travel climate many direct Cuba flights were cut down at the time, but now many airlines are renewing frequencies to the island.

Returning our attention to Cienfuegos, Cuba’s balmy “pearl of the south” also readies to welcome more cruises this winter season, after recovering from the havoc that torrential rains brought on by tropical storm Alberto left back in May.

“This year we’re expecting over 12,000 passenger arrivals docking at Cienfuegos’ port. We would have 11 cruise arrivals in November and 16 in December. Doubtlessly, this will mean a reanimation of Cienfuegos’ tourism, with a ripple effect in Cuba’s central cities.”

The latest cruise company to announce sailing journeys to Cuba was Silverseas, who announced that its first Cuba cruise programme would be launching in 2019.

In the meantime, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises, two of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines, will be bringing U.S. visitors to Cienfuegos this winter season, with cruises being the preferred mode of arrival of U.S. tourists seduced by this beautiful, provincial coastal city.


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