June 18, 2021

why tourists are flocking to Cuban capital

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25A4A3CF00000578-2952617-image-a-127_1423848872175Havana ball: Stunning photos show why tourists are flocking to Cuban capital following historic lifting of US travel ban

By Daniel Miller From Daily Mail UK
Surge in the number of tourists wanting to visit Caribbean island after lifting of travel ban was announced
Many fear that the country will become ‘Americanised’ and lose its character as it is opened up for trade
Travel experts urge anyone who is thinking of visiting Cuba to book sooner rather than later
With its beautiful architecture, colourful characters and Caribbean sunshine it’s not hard to see why so many people are flocking to explore the Cuban capital Havana in case it changes for good.
Since it was announced last year that talks were underway to lift restrictions on Americans visiting the country there has been a surge in the number of tourists wanting to see it for themselves.
Online searches for trips were reportedly up by a staggering 95 per cent with tourists being warned that if they want to see ‘the real Cuba’ they should book their trips now.
Last month the new regulations were passed allowing Americans to visit the country for any of a dozen specific reasons, including family visits, education and religion, without first obtaining a special license from the U.S. government as was previously the case.

Though general tourism will still be banned, those U.S. travelers who do visit will be allowed to bring home small amounts of the Cuban cigars that are highly rated by aficionados.
The revamped rules will also make it easier for U.S. companies to export mobile phone devices and software as well as to provide Internet services in Cuba. U.S. airlines will be permitted to expand flights to the Caribbean island.
As part of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba, the US will soon reopen an embassy in the capital of Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the governments.
TravelSupermarket travel expert Bob Atkinson is urging anyone who is thinking of visiting Cuba to book sooner rather than later.
Speaking to MailOnline Travel, Mr Atkinson said: ‘It really is a unique place to visit, and once it becomes fully open to the Americans, they will without doubt pile in.
‘Havana was seen as a party destination for Americans years ago, such was its close proximity to Florida.
‘However you look at it, opening up to the Americans will change the way it feels and I think this will be to the detriment to the culture and heritage of the place.
‘I would urge anyone who is thinking of visiting Cuba to book now; there is something about Cuba that you just can’t put your finger on.
‘I would say go now, as you cannot be sure the culture and heritage of Cuba will remain as it is now.’
As one of the popular Caribbean destinations for travellers around the world, Cuba also remains one of the most affordable, and there is a good choice of flights available from the UK.
‘On the one hand it is very evident that change will come at some stage, and that the younger generation of Cubans are waiting for that to happen. While they have excellent education and healthcare, there is still real poverty, and they lack things that we all take for granted such as a choice of goods to buy (food is mostly from ration shops) and access to the internet and to world news.’
The US is also increasing the amount of money Americans can send to Cubans from $500 to $2,000 per quarter, or every three months. Early in his presidency, Obama allowed unlimited family visits by Cuban-Americans and removed a $1,200 annual cap on remittances.
Secretary of State John Kerry is also launching a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror.
Obama does not have the authority to fully lift the long-standing US economic embargo on Cuba, given that Congress enacted that policy. However, officials said he would welcome lawmakers taking that step.

Smoke break: A Cuban woman puffs on an enormous cigar as she fans herself on a street in Old Havana
Old buildings stand on a corner of street in Old Havana capital of Cuba. The number of tourists visiting Old Havana has seen a steady increase following the normalization of Cuba – U.S. relations
A musician performs sweet Latin melodies on a street in Old Havana
Splash of colour: Flower-sellers wear bright eye-catching dresses as they wait for customers on a street Old Havana
Rum do: People enjoy a drink at one of the many street pubs to be found in Old Havana
Clowning about : A street performer and his dog entertain a young tourist and her mother
Pizza, donuts and rum: People wait in a line in front of a street food vendor in Old Havana. The city is listed as a world heritage site
Culture vultures: A group of tourists check out paintings at a gallery in Old Havana a city known for its vibrant artistic scene
Classic motors: An old U.S. car, still in remarkably good condition, cruises along next to the river in Old Havana
Jalopy: A rickety taxi makes its way along a narrow street in Old Havana a city which is alive and dynamic at all hours of the day and night
Local hero: A portrait of the legendary revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara is painted on a buiding in Old Havana capital of Cuba
Car wash: Cubans have been forced to keep cars from the 1950s on the road as trade restrictions meant they were unable to import new vehicles
Hot wheels: The classic motors are now a symbol of the Cuban capital just like red double decker buses are to London
Bouquet basket: Flower-sellers in colorful clothes wait for customers on an Old Havana street
Nice ride: The proud owner of one of Havana’s many classic old U.S. cars stands proudly next to his vehicle
Tourists and locals parouse a line of book and portrait stands on a street of Old Havana
A man cleans an old U.S. car on the street of Old Havana capital of Cuba
For more on this story and video go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2952617/Havana-ball-Stunning-photos-tourists-flocking-Cuban-capital-following-historic-lifting-travel-ban.html#ixzz3RjSTf9Ud

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