Cuba: a billion for cruise and airline companies

Cuba will become a market of close to a billion dollars for U.S. airline and cruise companies, according to the projections of 2017, 2018 and 2019 of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.

According to a report published this Monday, the cruise lines will register net incomes of more than 761 million dollars during these three years by transporting more than 570,000 passengers, while the airlines will bring in another 228 million dollars.

The Council pointed out that at present there are some 335 cruise itineraries to the island by Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian, important companies mainly based in Florida, as well as other smaller lines, and forecast that these trips could increase.

This report updates previous estimates based on data collected up to October 25. At the time the projections spoke of some 455,000 passengers and more than 623 million dollars in incomes for the U.S. cruise companies.

However, despite the restrictions announced by the Trump administration, the current panorama is still more favorable for that travel modality.

The Council recalled that in 2016 the profits of Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian had registered a total of 28.8 million dollars for their trips on 144 vessels to their different destinations.

In May this year the ship Adonia of Fathom – one of Carnival’s lines – was the first to arrive to the island after the diplomatic “thaw” between Havana and Washington promoted by former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Also for Cuba and Florida

This Monday’s report, made known by John Kavulich, president of the Council, estimates that the cruise trips will leave Cuba profits of more than 80 million dollars in passenger spending, and more than 21 million dollars in port taxes.

Moreover, it represents more than 100 million dollars in profits for tourism in Florida, the point of departure and arrival of most of the flights and cruises to the island.

The study specifies that these incomes will be especially in hotels, restaurants and land transportation services in the south of Florida.

Last week representatives of the world’s principal cruise companies, among them several from the U.S., met in Havana with the island’s authorities. During the meeting, sponsored by the Cruise Lines International Association and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, the participating companies confirmed the interest in maintaining and increasing their presence in Cuba.

In relation to the regular flights, reinitiated in August 2016 after more than half a century of suspension, the scenario is less encouraging after the withdrawal of some airlines, Alaska Airlines and Silver Airways, while others have reduced their frequencies and eliminated some routes with Cuban cities, among them American and Southwest.

However, other companies like Delta Air Lines are satisfied with their presence in Cuba and are seeking to increase their flights to the island.

The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council report has come to light at a time when the government of Donald Trump has imposed new restrictions to “freeze” the normalization with Cuba, among them the elimination of the people-to-people individual trips, one of the most popular travel categories among those established by Obama.

According to official data, between January and October of this year Cuba received 544,171 U.S. visitors, 336,556 more than the same period in 2016.

EFE / OnCuba


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