The companies first partnered together in 2003, sending the most amount of Americans to Cuba before travel restrictions took place. With the renewed partnership, Bob Drumm, president of General Tours World Traveler, says they expect to send over 1,000 travelers in 2013, and demand is high.
“We’re offering passengers our experience in the marketplace and our experience operating in Cuba,” says Tom Popper, president of Insight Cuba. “It marries our unique experience and longevity in Cuba with General Tours’ experience in the travel trade, so it effectively opens up, or makes available, the opportunity for Americans to travel legally to Cuba in a different way.”
Popper stresses that their experience is really what sets them apart—they have eyes and ears on the ground in Cuba and each activity is hand-picked by professionals who are on the island. “Everything we do is to provide a unique experience that people will remember and cherish forever,” he says. As well as showing the famous sites, the tours provide “impacting and engaging” experiences by Cuba experts allowing travelers to have a “level of engagement” with people in Cuba, Drumm says.
“The unique thing about this is that there is no other company out there of our type (as an established tour operator) that has a relationship with a distinguished company like Insight Cuba. We offer really the broadest choice; we have four programs that we are promoting, including a brand-new one that covers the entire length of the island,” Drumm says.
General Tours will offer four tours: Classic Cuba, an 8-day tour starting at $3,595 with four days in the capital, two days in Trinidad, and a day in Cienfuegos; Scenic Cuba, an 8-day tour starting at $3,195, with four days in Havana and a trip to Pinar del Rio and its Vinales Valley where travelers interact with local farmers; Cuban Music & Art, a 9-day tour with rates from $4,295, with four days in Havana, and behind-the-scenes look at a top record label, and a flight to Santiago de Cuba to see professionals and students studying art, music and dance; and Undiscovered Cuba, a 12-day tour from $4,195 with a 3-day stay in Havana and visits to towns that other U.S. licenses do not offer, such as Remedios and Baracoa, where Columbus landed on his first voyage.
Tours are capped at 24 people and include hotels, all meals, in-country ground and air transportation, transfers, all entry fees to events, a Cuban guide, an Insight Cuba tour leader, U.S. Treasury Department license and Letter of Authorization, and travel insurance and trip cancellation coverage. International flights are separate and leave from Miami to Havana.
Agents can earn a referral fee from General Tours World Traveler, with a $100 per couple agent bonus for groups starting at eight people. For more information, call (800) 221-2216 or visit generaltours.com.