Tourismus USA > Cuba

06.01.2003 17:35
avatar  Chris
#1 Tourismus USA > Cuba
Rey/Reina del Foro

In Antwort auf:
An Increasing number of younger Americans are coming to Cuba

Cuba-bound U.S. flights and reservations are reaching historic levels this holiday season: ´´This month of December has been extraordinary. The number of reservations almost doubles those in July and August, when there is also an increase in sales,´´ said Armando García, vice president of Marazul Charters.

Not only are there more travelers but they are younger, the Miami Herald daily pointed out.

´´When I started my transportation business in 1991, the average age of people traveling to Cuba was 68 to 75 years old,´´ said John Cabañas, owner of C&T Charters in Miami. ``Now, the average age is 40 and below.´´

The spike in reservations for this month is up an estimated 35% to 40% compared to December 2000, when Miami experienced bookings not seen since 1959, according to agents surveyed by the Miami Herald.

Additionally, the actual number of flights to Cuba also has increased. C&T Charters, for example, has scheduled at least 27 flights to Cuba this month compared to its average of 16 monthly flights.

´´All the flights are full,´´ Cabañas said. ``We are at a 93 percent of our capacity for all the month of December in airplanes that have 206 seats.´´

That amounts to about 5,000 travelers in December, up from the average of 3,200 passengers on C&T Charters flights each month.

Overall, at least 26,500 passengers were booked on 240 flights out of Miami this month, agents said. At Miami International Airport, a total of 99 flights left between Dec. 16 and 24, and an additional 11 are scheduled for Christmas Day, an MIA spokeswoman said. Compare that to a total of 144 flights in the full month of November.

Those numbers do not include the flights from New York nor Los Angeles, nor Americans coming to Cuba through third countries, such as Mexico, Canada or The Bahamas, to by pass the travel restrictions.

´´In general, there has been an increase from year to year,´´ said Zachary Mann, a spokesman for U.S. Customs in Miami. ``As additional airlines have been given permission to travel, there are more flights and more travelers.´´

´´Most of the Cuban-American community that travels to Cuba nowadays is younger than it used to be,´´ said Pedro González Munné, director of a Miami-based company that promotes travel to Cuba. ``They are people who came to Miami in the past eight or nine years and also the second generations born here who are in touch with their families in Cuba.´´

Family reunification is not the only reason people travel to Cuba. More native-born Americans also are starting to travel to the island, González Munné said.

”People are receiving more information about Cuba, its culture and reality, so they find it interesting and travel to learn more about its art, its music and everyday life.´´

An estimated 180,000 Americans visit Cuba each year, and about 30% of those are not on the island to visit relatives, Cuban government statistics indicate. About 50,000 of the travelers go through third countries, circumventing the U.S. travel ban to Cuba.

Under current U.S. laws, legal travel to Cuba is restricted to people with relatives there, students, educators and such professionals as journalists, doctors and athletes. Cultural exchange programs count.

aus: CaribbeanNews, 04.01.03


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