There’s a huge curiosity factor that’s driving travel to Cuba, since it was forbidden for so long.
And in a reversal of how we usually think these things work, Cubans may be flocking to their own beaches before Americans ruin them.
While airlines raced to grab limited routes to Havana, pretty much all traffic for these flights will originate in the US. There’s almost no customer base to support these flights in Cuba. Planes predominantly service with leisure travel. Cuba isn’t a strong business destination.
Capitolio, Downtown Havana
Malecón in Havana
And infrastructure in Cuba, from the airport to hotels, is wholly inadequate to match an aviation boom and influx of tourists.
Yet Cuba remains is very much one of the year’s “hottest” destinations for US travelers to have on their bucket list.
In Argentina at least there’s a saying, “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.” In Colombo, Sri Lanka last year I came across these contradictory symbols on a local vehicle:
One of the great forbidden fruits of the US embargo is Cuban cigars. They live on in reputation even if those who know about such things tell me that they’re no longer the quality that they once were.
However if you go to Cuba you can now bring them back in unlimited quantities, paying customs duty on large amounts the same as you would bringing in cigars from anywhere else in the world.
The Obama administration announced Friday it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from the island.
…Cuban rum and cigars will now be subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries, meaning most travelers will be able to bring back as many as 100 cigars and several bottles of rum.
I just hope that when people do go, and buy their cigars, they’ll internalize what the Cuban revolution did to impoverish the lives of the Cuban people.