News and Facts about Cuba

Legal Tourism to Cuba on the Rise

Morning News: Legal to Cuba on the Rise
Written by Paul Brady December 03, 2014

Looser regulations have spurred a surge in to Cuba among
Americans, many thousands of whom have visited the island in recent
years on special “people-to-people” tours.
The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2015 predicts
travel prices will increase a few points next year. “With an improving
and greater corporate confidence, capacity discipline by US
carriers, and the recent consolidation of the domestic market, airlines
are predicted to raise their long- and short-haul fares in the coming
year,” Amex says. “North American rates are expected to trend
upwards, buoyed by favorable economic growth, increasing demand, and a
lack of new inventory. After an extended period of relative weakness,
hotels are looking to capitalize on favorable market dynamics to
increase profitability,” the forecast says. Long-haul business-class
flights could go up 1-4% Amex predicts, with mid-range hotels up 3-6%.

Turkish Airlines is using the drop in oil prices to push ticket prices
lower and continue a global branding effort aimed at making the carrier,
which already flies to more destinations than any other, the world’s
most ubiquitous . That strategy stands in stark contrast to what
U.S. airlines are doing with fares in reaction to falling fuel costs,
which is to say, not much. (Or, to hear Amex tell it, raising them
slightly!) Interestingly, both strategies might work, since lower oil
prices may give consumers more discretionary income to spend on travel,
one analyst says. (Bloomberg and Bloomberg)

More and more Americans are traveling legally to Cuba. “While traveling
to Cuba for tourism remains technically unlawful for Americans, rules
loosened by the Obama administration now permit a greater variety of
so-called “people-to-people” cultural exchanges,” Ernesto Londoño
reports. “Those include tours for art collectors, tobacco aficionados
and Americans who want to explore Cuba’s dynamic gay scene, to name just
a few. … In 2012 and 2013, more than 90,000 Americans legally visited
Cuba under those programs. That’s more than twice the number that
traveled here legally in 2008.” (NYT)

Best Western, which recently launched a BW Premier Collection brand, has
announced the first property to be part of the mix, the Hotel Mäster
Johan in Malmö, Sweden. (BW Premier Collection)

The planned expansion into the U.S. by the Brazilian airline Azul has
started in Fort Lauderdale, with Orlando service beginning on December
15. The airline may start Sao Paulo-New York flights by July 2015, Terry
Maxon reports. (The Dallas Morning News)

Finnair has declared itself, once again, the Official Airline of Santa
Claus, a distinction the carrier has held since 1983. It will mark the
occasion with two Airbus A321s in special Santa livery during the
holiday season. Business class passengers will also get a special
Christmas menu this season, with “starters such as rainbow trout
gravlax, with poached duck and roasted cod as the choices of main
course. Mulled wine and gingerbread cookies are also served on flights.”

Uber has launched a carpooling feature to its app in New York City. It’s
probably not as revolutionary as the company claims, but it is an
interesting idea to let Uber riders share rides. (Capital New York)

Possibly the most insidery thing to ever appear in Morning News: A look
at the making of “a new scholarly book, ‘The Discourse of Online
Consumer Reviews.’” (NYT)

Source: Legal Tourism to Cuba on the Rise – Condé Nast Traveler –

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