A survey by travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance has found that although 42 percent of Americans are interested in visiting Cuba now that travel restrictions from the U.S. have been eased, 70 percent are currently unlikely to do so. The survey, conducted during President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, cited safety concerns, lack of traveler information and fear of a communist government as the main reasons for avoiding the destination.
The results revealed that Americans prefer to keep their experiences inside their comfort zone, with just 7 percent of respondents “very likely” to plan a trip to Cuba, and 22 percent “somewhat likely” to do so. Of these adventurous few, only 4 percent were planning a visit in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017. The main sources of anxiety were concerns about safety (44 percent) and distrust of communism (15 percent). Other worries included poor information about destination experiences (18 percent), undeveloped travel infrastructure (12 percent) and concerns over available healthcare facilities (6 percent).
“Cox & Kings has not experienced any trepidation from clients heading to Cuba as our guests are more intrepid luxury travelers. So I do not think that this is true for all luxury clients,” countered Scott Wiseman, president, Cox & Kings, The Americas. “Most luxury adventure travelers consider themselves travelers, not tourists and seek out authentic experiences.”
The survey also asked what might encourage Americans to visit Cuba, with 33 percent responding that beach resorts would increase their interest, 24 percent citing the cultural attractions, and 11 percent citing Cuban food and rum. Classic 1950s American cars were a lure for 9 percent of respondents, while Cuban cigars ranked at 5 percent, and visiting family and friends also came in at 5 percent in the report. A key finding revealed that 15 percent would be more encouraged to visit the destination if they had the assurance of adequate travel insurance in place.
“It is important to visit Cuba with an open mind, make the most of the destination and immerse yourself into the culture. The infrastructure is a challenge and over time we will see many improvements to handle this new wave of visitors,” said Paula Twidale, executive v.p. of Collette. “Tour operator hotel partners such as Marriott and Starwood are very focused on investing in Cuba’s hotel development and it will help the overall experience and boost accommodations. Cuba is filled with culture, history, charm and warm people—and traveling with a tour operator adds to the safety and camaraderie, putting guests more at ease.” For more information, visit allianz-global-assistance.com.