After the U.S. eased travel restrictions on Cuba, the Caribbean nation soared to the top of many travel lists (like #2 on NYT‘s 2015 list). People were excited to visit.
Now, however, it appears that excitement is fading. According to a study conducted by Allianz Global Assistance, just 40% of Americans are interested in taking a trip to Cuba. That’s down from 42% in 2016. A separate measure found that 76% of people polled were “unlikely to plan a trip to Cuba”—up 6% from 2016’s number.
Why the drop? The novelty of the new frontier is apparently wearing off, as 9% fewer people (26% of all polled in 2017) cited the eased travel restrictions as a reason to visit Cuba. And when asked about sources of anxiety regarding travel to Cuba, Americans showed that they are thinking less about safety and more about logistics and infrastructure—i.e. the capacity of the country to return a comfortable getaway for their travel dollars. As revealed in the study:
- Safety concerns: 38% cited safety in Cuba as an anxiety in 2017, down from 44% in 2016
- Fear of communist government: 12% concerned in 2017, down from 15% in 2016
- Lack of information on Cuba’s travel experiences: 22% concerned in 2017, up from 18% in 2016
- Travel infrastructure: 13% concerned in 2017, up from 12% in 2016
- Internet/mobile connectivity: 9% concerned in 2017, up from 7% in 2016
It was also revealed that 15% of Americans believe that a good travel insurance policy would make them more interested in visiting Cuba.
“Our survey found that merely two percent of Americans think they will go to Cuba in the next six months, two percent believe they will make it there by the end of 2017 and 10 percent think they will go sometime in 2018,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz. “Airlines continue to change their services to Cuba, while cruise lines are revving up sailings to the island. It will be interesting to see how this affects visitors’ interest.”
Disclaimer: Johnny Jet works as an ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and receives financial compensation.
For more information about Allianz Global, visit AllianzTravelInsurance.com.
I spent a week in Havana last month. I’m glad I went, but wouldn’t go again until conditions improve. I’ve spoken to several other people who have also recently gone and our opinions were similar. The U.S. carriers really need a high level of demand to support all of the new flights. I’m assuming this would depend on repeat visitors.
The costs were comparable to what I spent in Portugal last year. In my opinion, Portugal is a travelers paradise, with little to no need to temper my expectations.
My experience staying in a casa particular was great, but the rest of the travel infrastructure in Cuba isn’t ready for prime time. I say this as an experienced traveller – I’ve been throughout South America and have spent time in Africa, so I my expectations weren’t terribly high going in.
* Good food is extremely hard to find and what you can currently get isn’t a bargain. I really only had one meal that was really good in my opinion and I don’t consider myself to be a foodie.
* Local transport is erratic and very expensive at times. If you are fluent in Spanish, you can definitely save money by taking collective taxis, but how many U.S. citizens have that level of Spanish proficiency? Local buses are jammed, and that is probably how I was probably pick pocketed. Taxi rides have little rhyme or reason regarding pricing.
* The 10% surcharge when exchanging U.S. dollars is incredibly excessive.
On the positive side, I felt safe and the locals were friendly and glad to see tourists. I can foresee a time when there is a better level of infrastructure and I’ll be tempted to go back.