An otherwise quiet island nation has been getting a lot of attention following the release of President Obama's plans to normalize US relations with Cuba. An intense dialogue on the possibilities and potential presented by opening up trade routes and travel between the US and Cuba has peaked the interest of travelers over the past few months and travel providers have been eagerly pursuing the opportunity to be the first to offer transport services.
Cheap Travel to Cuba a New Priority
Talks about airfare and plane routes have been prevalent in media coverage of this quickly progressing international affair, and a overwhelmingly positive response from curious globe-trotters has prompted a vested interest on the part of travel companies. According to a recent report by Sojern, US searches regarding travel to Cuba jumped nearly 200% in the first quarter of 2015, proving that there is certainly a massive niche to be filled once travel restrictions officially ease up. While US residents still aren't allowed to visit Cuba as freely as taking a road trip in Europe, an attitude of excitement has permeated the airfare industry on the whole, but more in-depth considerations are giving way to plans to provide more casual and cost-effective methods of getting to the formerly off-limits island.
For a country so shrouded in mystery, Cuba is, in fact, less than 100 miles from US soil. Political stipulations have kept the country out-of-bounds for decades despite its accessible geographic location, but now that these regulations are quickly becoming bygones, the short stretch of water between Cuba and the Southern tip of Florida presents an excellent opportunity for easy travel. Shipping companies have expressed tremendous interest in starting ferry services to Cuba, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported that at least five firms have applied for licenses with the US State Department. Whether or not the licenses are approved remains to be seen, but operators and potential passengers alike have been exuberant about the possibility of ferry travel, which would be far cheaper than traveling to Cuba by airplane.
Still Waiting to Travel to Cuba
Several changes in legislation have already taken effect regarding the freedom for US citizens to travel to Cuba, but total normalization still hasn't taken place. Several members of the US House of Representatives have even taken measures to halt the development of new, more open regulations with a bill that could potentially bar funds used to expedite new air and sea routes to Cuban territory. The provision, introduced last week, would bring ambitious airline and cruise companies looking to provide transport to Cuba to a full halt, but it will still need to receive approval from Congress before going into effect. Staunch opposition is, of course, expected from proponents of the movement to modernize our approach to relations with the Communist nation formerly ruled by Fidel Castro.