How Hot is Travel To Cuba Right Now?
Photo by David Cogswell
A new Travel Leaders survey finds Americans’ interest in travel to Cuba continuing to grow and likely to increase now that regularly scheduled air service from the U.S. will be a reality.
In February, Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx signed a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air service between the two countries.
Secretary Foxx today announced that steps are being taken to relaunch scheduled air service to Cuba. Under this arrangement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana.
In the months ahead, six domestic airlines will begin scheduled flights between Cuba and Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St.Paul, said Secretary Foxx.
Participants in the Travel Leaders survey—U.S. consumers—who indicated they’d “go immediately” to Cuba if all government restrictions were lifted, has risen to nearly 11 percent, with gains also charted among those who have visited.
READ MORE: Cuba Plans for Hotel Boom
The survey was conducted April 4 to April 30, 2016, and includes responses from 3,431 consumers throughout the country. This is the eighth consecutive year for the consumer travel survey. To see recent survey data on Airport Security, go here. Travel Leaders Group has also released data on Europe travel and the Zika virus on travel.
This year’s survey also explored the Top 20 International Destinations already booked for 2016 with travelers asked to rank their desire to visit each. According to the survey, the top must-see destination was Venice followed by Florence (Tuscany), Rome, London, and Dublin, respectively.
“Today’s announcement of six U.S. airlines approved for commercial flights to Cuba, beginning this fall, is another major step toward more American visitors in Cuba,” said Ninan Chacko, Travel Leaders Group CEO. “While Congress has yet to lift all remaining restrictions on travel, it is clear from our survey data that Americans are increasingly considering and booking travel to Cuba, albeit modestly.
Further details of the Cuba travel findings: the number of Americans interested in travel to Cuba if all U.S. government restrictions are lifted continued to increase year-over-year. Conversely, the number who indicated they have no interest in traveling to Cuba has decreased substantially since last year.
I’ve already been there.
I’d go immediately.
I would go as soon as I believed Cuba was ready for Americans.
I might consider going.
I have no interest in going.
For the Top 20 international destinations in the survey—those destinations that Travel Leaders Group agents were booking the most heading into this year – survey participants were asked to rate their interest in visiting these particular destinations.
The response choices included: “must see,” “very interested,” “interested,” “little interest,” and “no interest.”
Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy
CRUISE – Europe (River)
CRUISE – Europe (Mediterranean)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
CRUISE – Caribbean
CRUISE – Europe (Baltic)
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico
Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
CRUISE – Mexico
“Overall, we can confidently say that the demand for leisure travel is still very strong,” said Chacko. “Our survey also revealed that more than nine out of 10 participants will take the same number or more leisure trips in 2016. Our job is to make sure we help them get the most value out of each trip and dollar spent.”
The survey also found:
• Over 96 percent of those polled said they “have or will take” at least one leisure trip this year.
• More than 91 percent said the total number of leisure trips they anticipate taking in 2016 will be either the same or more than last year (36.5 percent say “more” while 54.6 percent say “the same”).
READ MORE: Can Cuba Keep Up With US Tourism?
• Eighty seven percent of those polled stated they will spend the same or more on leisure trips this year versus 2015 (42.4 percent will spend “more” and 44.3 percent will spend “the same” on their leisure trips as compared to last year.
• When asked whether participants’ leisure trips were land-based, cruise-only or a combination of both, the results (compared to previous years) showed:
Both land-based and cruise vacations.
• With the vast majority of survey participants indicating they will take at least one leisure trip in 2016, it was also important to find out how far they are traveling from home, Travel Leaders Group said. Selecting all options that apply to their leisure trip(s) this year, the top responses were:
Travel within the U.S. and farther than a bordering state.
Travel within your home state.
Travel internationally (Canada, Mexico and/or Caribbean).
Travel to a bordering state.
Travel internationally (Europe).
Survey responses were elicited through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through direct contact with travel clients for the following Travel Leaders Group companies including the flagship Travel Leaders brand: All Aboard Travel, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, SinglesCruise.com, Tzell Travel Group, and Vacation.com.
With annual sales approaching $21 billion, Travel Leaders Group is the largest traditional travel agency company in North America, comprised of approximately 30 percent of all travel agencies in North America that are wholly-owned, franchised, or member agencies
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