After more than 50 years, the United States now has plans to lift its sanctions against Cuba and allow normal travel between the United States and Cuba. Though the details of normalizing relations are currently still being defined, the change seems to be growing more imminent. With this in mind, it’s not too early for the U.S. travel industry to start thinking about what this historic change would mean for business. Check out this run-down on the latest government plans, what industry experts are saying about the future, and what interested vacation rental companies can start doing now to market to U.S. tourists dreaming of a Cuban getaway!
Please note: The information presented in this blog post is meant to provide facts and does not reflect any political opinion or express political support for any entity. This is simply a post relevant to current events in the vacation rental industry.
Current Status of Efforts to Normalize Relations
In December 2014, President Barak Obama announced plans to bring an end to sanctions against Cuba, which would remove restrictions on trade and travel with the country. In his January 2015 State of the Union Speech, the President asked Congress to begin forming legislation that would normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba. TripAdvisor reports, “A bill to end the travel ban sponsored by Democrat Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts and Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona has 195 backers in the House of Representatives, 23 votes short [of what’s needed to pass the bill].” There’s not quite enough support yet in the House; nevertheless, support is strong and seems to be growing. There is also support in the Senate, although no definitive action is expected to take place until the spring.
What Travel Industry Experts are Saying
Before Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, Cuba was the largest Caribbean destination for Americans. Travel industry experts are predicting many American tourists will be interested in visiting Cuba if travel sanctions are lifted.
“Americans really want to see Cuba…We predict that at least 850,000 Americans will go to Cuba in the first year,” said Robert Whitely, president of the US Tour Operators.
This does not include the estimated 480,000 Americans who will visit Cuba on Caribbean cruises once US ships are allowed to dock there again; or the additional estimated 480,000 Cuban Americans who will begin visiting family in Cuba again each year, according to a Cuban official speaking to TripAdvisor.
“According to Cuban estimates based on 2 million Americans visiting Cuba a Year, U.S. airlines stand to earn $600 million and travel agencies $300 million, annually,” said Miguel Figueras , the top adviser to the Cuban tourism minister [Source: TripAdvisor].
Tips for Marketing to Americans Dreaming of Cuba
If you are planning to expand your U.S. vacation rental company into Cuba one day, there are some things you can start doing now to make your efforts easier when regular U.S. travel to Cuba is finally possible.
Add content about Cuba to your website now. This will help begin to optimize your website for search terms related to Cuba. If you start adding blog posts with helpful information about unique things to see and do in Cuba now, it will help you appear in search engine results for key search terms later.
Share that content in your social networks. This will help you begin establishing yourself as an expert in traveling to Cuba now. It will also get your current social audience thinking about traveling to Cuba now so that you have created demand within your current audience early. By creating excitement within your current audience early, you’ll have a large pool of people who are waiting to rent with you when the time comes.
Are you thinking about entering the vacation rental market in Cuba? Share your own tips below in the comments section! You can also find more marketing strategies and tips by checking out Paveya’s Vacation Rental Marketing Blog.