LONDON, England, Monday November 30, 2015 – Since August, when the reopening of the US Embassy in Havana signalled a thaw in the cold war tensions between the United States and Cuba, the communist Caribbean country’s stature on the world tourism stage has increased to the point of dwarfing many other more established players.
Apart from securing record bookings, Cuba has been collecting kudos for various aspects of its tourism plant, recently earning two out of 10 spots on TripAdvisor’s Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, as well as placing among the 10 destinations that the world’s top luxury travel specialists are most excited about for 2016.
Now the land loved by Hemingway has made its way onto another list, in the process earning the distinction of being the only Caribbean destination to be selected yet again.
This time Cuba took second place in global travel search engine Skyscanner’s predictions of the destinations to watch next year.
The data was compiled by analysing millions of Skyscanner flight searches from the last three years and finding the locations where interest had increased the most.
— Annabel (@annabelherrick) November 27, 2015
Searches for the autonomous region of Ponta Delgada in Portugal have risen the most, boasting a 63 percent increase in recent years, but Cuba was not too far behind with a 33 percent increase, giving it a convincing lead over third-placed Tokyo (Japan) with an increase of 25 percent.
Commenting on the findings, Skyscanner’s travel editor Cat McGloin said: “With 50 million searches to the site every month from all over the world, our search data gives us some really robust insight in to these trends.
“It’s interesting to see how people’s travel interests are changing and what these destinations are offering to become even more appealing.”
— Skyscanner (@Skyscanner) November 30, 2015
Here’s what Skyscanner had to say about Cuba:
After years in the cold, Cuba is back on the world stage as the USA restored diplomatic relations in July and continues to loosen restrictions on trade.
If more restrictions are lifted we may see flights from the US and the arrival of US hotel chains opening in Cuba in 2016.
Many are therefore booking flights to Cuba to experience the country before it changes beyond recognition (and before prices rise as a result).
Having been shut off for so long, Cuba is trapped in a time warp, with crumbing colonial buildings and 1950s cars. It is like nowhere else on earth.
Cuba was in good company, moreover, placing on a list that also included hot spots ranging from activity-packed established destinations like Copenhagen to recently emerged and unspoilt islands like Sal in Cape Verde.