While President Obama made his historic visit to Cuba last month, this showing of the ease of restrictions between the two countries definitely left thoughts of visiting Cuba on many Americans minds. But leading travel insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance surveyed Americans and found some disappointing results: despite being gung-ho about going to Cuba, it seems few Americans are actually likely to do it!
The survey, conducted during President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba this week, found that 42% of Americans would like to visit Cuba and that the easing of travel restrictions made 35% more interested in the prospect of legally traveling to the country. But it also revealed that just 7% would actually be “very likely” to plan a trip to Cuba, while 22% were only “somewhat likely” to do so, and the remaining 70% were not at all likely.
The major anxieties for Americans are safety concerns (44%) and fear of communist government (15%). Others felt there is a lack of: information on Cuba’s travel experiences (18%), travel infrastructure (12%), internet/mobile connectivity (7%) or appropriate healthcare facilities (6%).
Totally valid trepidation, but here’s where it gets disappointing. What would make American travelers more likely to visit Cuba? The survey results showed that Americans want to keep their experiences inside their comfort zone, with 33% responding that beach resorts would make them more interested and likely to travel to Cuba. That is well ahead of Cuba’s cultural attractions (24%), the Cuban people (12%), Cuban food and rum (11%), classic 1950s American cars (9%), Cuban cigars (5%) and family and friends (5%).
Of the adventurous few that are likely to visit Cuba, only 4% plan on doing so in 2016, while 10% will do so in 2017, and the remainder don’t know. When U.S. travelers do start visiting Cuba in large numbers, more than half of Americans (55%) believe the country will change for the better.
This survey was administered through Google Consumer surveys receiving 2,282 responses. If these 2,282 are looking for beach resorts over an interest in culture / exploring a new destination, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just go to the many tried or true Caribbean islands that we’ve always had access to, or even Florida. At ‘NAPW I feel that the major point of travel, especially to a place like Cuba is to experience the culture. I’m blessed enough to be young and able-bodied so the idea of sitting in a beach resort all day everyday absolutely does not appeal to me. Trust me, my mom and I tried to sit by the pool at the Habana Riviera, that lasted maybe an hour? Great pics though! Would these same participants enjoy a trip to Paris? Along those same lines, I (and probably like-minded travelers) am a bit too restless to sit down for one of these surveys. On the bright side, that 4% in 2016 and 2017 are the pioneers and will represent us well :).