Cuba has all of sudden become one of the most fashionable places to visit in 2016. The Kardashians posted endless snaps from their visit earlier this year, Chanel staged their latest resort collection there and many tourists are now flocking to the small island too. So, why is it that everyone is lusting after Cuba?
In March 2016 Barack Obama visited the Cuban President. This may not seem like a shocking event, as Obama makes state visits rather regularly. However, he was the first American to visit the country for 85 years. The relationship between the U.S and Cuba has been extremely rocky for many years, and even though this restored relationship may be a positive thing in many aspects, it is also a cause for concern.
Many are worried that the influence of the U.S will effect Cuba’s culture and originality. U.S citizens are now able to invest in small businesses on the island and trade between the two countries is a lot easier. With an increase in mainstream technology making its way to Cuba, the traditional aspects of the country are dwindling. For example, there’s fear the classic cars will be replaced by imported new models. However, Americans are not allowed to open large co-operations, so there is no fear of McDonalds and Starbucks dominating the island just yet.
A major factor that has changed since the relationship has been rebuilt is that Americans are now able to visit the island a lot more easily. From this, there was a 50 per cent increase in American tourists in the past year. Previously, anyone who wanted to visit had to file a proposal and wait several months to travel there. With these restrictions lifted, many are flocking to the cultural hub of Havana.
This may seem like an exciting time for the island but many fear that the country is not coping well with this influx in tourism. “With the increase in demand there have occurred problems with the confirmation of reservations and some irritation with delays at the airports, most of all in Havana,” said Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero at the opening of the Cuba International Tourism Fair. Many travel agents in the UK and around the world are struggling to offer trips to tourists, as the demand is just so high.
The Telegraph reported that visitor numbers have already jumped 13.5% this year, with a record-breaking 1.5 million tourists flocking to visit the Caribbean island since January. In the capital, Havana, tourism numbers are up 37% – and hotel prices are being hiked accordingly. Not only are there many people crowding the small island, the prices to stay on the island are increasing drastically too as a reaction. There was a period of a shortage on beer in bars and petrol stations struggled to provide enough fuel.
Soon, the country could become a carbon copy of the vast land of the U.S, hence why so many want to soak up its traditional culture before it becomes a thing of the past. This influx in tourism may well be the thing that detriments it though, not the American businesses.
Have you been to Cuba yet? Dream of someday visiting Havana? Tweet us @debutmag with your stories!