US experiencing travel apathy for Cuba

Vintage taxis on street against historic buildings in Havana, Cuba
Vintage taxis on street against historic buildings in Havana, Cuba

This November, Cuba’s capital city Havana will celebrate its 500th birthday – and considering the recent decline in inbound travellers that Cuba has experienced in recent years, Allianz Global Assistance believes that this will present the perfect opportunity to boost the country’s travel trade.

Allianz’s recent annual survey has revealed that, despite the 5.1 million global visitors that Cuba expects to receive as a result of the celebrations, the country has seen a 33-per-cent decrease in overnight visitors from the US between 2017 and 2018, and that number continues to decline: 75.5 per cent are not interested in travelling to Cuba in 2019, 74.7 per cent were not interested in 2018.

However, what these figures highlight is that 14.6 per cent of Americans – or about 48 million travellers – are still likely to travel to Cuba. Allianz has confirmed that, 6.8 per cent of those who were aware of Havana’s anniversary said that it positively impacts their interest in visiting the destination, while two percent say it negatively impacts their interest in visiting.

So, why has this increasing apathy for visiting Cuba come about? Allianz notes that ‘travel to Cuba can be confusing’, especially in light of US travel restrictions. According to the survey, a majority (63.3 per cent) of Americans do not understand current travel restrictions to the island nation, which is likely preventing many from being interested in or planning a trip.

Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance US, said: “With Havana making significant infrastructure improvements, including major hotel renovations, and planning cultural activities to celebrate the city’s 500th anniversary, it’s a great opportunity for Americans to visit.”

The study also highlighted that, of those likely to plan a trip to Cuba, 18.1 per cent of US travellers would most likely travel by plane and 6.9 per cent via cruise ship.

Durazo added: “Our survey indicates that Cuba scores highly for its resorts and beaches, as well as its cultural attractions, with 34 per cent of Americans listing one of these as the top reason for their interest in visiting the island. When traveling internationally, the right travel protection policy may provide peace of mind in case of unexpected travel disruptions or health issues.”