Americans are visiting Cuba, but not in the numbers expected
HAVANA, Cuba -- It's been nearly a year since direct commercial flights
began from the U.S. to Cuba -- and Americans are making trips to the
communist nation long off-limits, but not in the numbers expected.
Claire Jerome from Boston is among the surging number of Americans
visiting Cuba. Last year, nearly 300,000 went, up 74 percent.
U.S. names airlines, cities hosting first flights to Cuba
"I thought there were many more Americans here, it seems like a good
time to come visit the country," Jerome told CBS News.
U.S. carriers rushed to launch service to Cuba in August after the U.S.
government approved 110 daily non-stops. But many are already cutting back.
Collin Laverty, who runs Cuba Educational Travel that organizes high-end
tours, addressed a possible gold rush that never happened.
"I think it didn't happen as fast as people thought," he said.
"I think a lot of that has to do with confusion about the legality,"
Laverty said. "Once you book your ticket what do you do? How do you book
a hotel, how do you book a tour? What support system is there here?
There's a lot of confusion. It's a tough country to navigate."
Some analysts expect two million Americans to visit Cuba annually by
2025. But a new survey finds only 2 percent are likely to plan a trip in
the next six months.
Several airlines see long-term potential, but American Airlines reduced
the number of flights to several cities, and JetBlue is using smaller
planes, dropping 300 seats a day.
On Wednesday, low-cost carrier Spirit will become the third U.S. airline
to end all service to the island.
Cuba is lacking in tourist infrastructure and conveniences like Wi-Fi.
Cruise ships seem to be the early winner as they bring the
infrastructure with them.
Source: Americans are visiting Cuba, but not in the numbers expected -
CBS News -