According to reports US and Cuba are set to enter a new era with a one-hour flight over the Florida Straits that will make it easier and cheaper for Americans to visit the long-isolated communist nation.
JetBlue is reportedly set to fly the first regularly scheduled, commercial flight between the two countries in 50 years, a short jaunt between Fort Lauderdale and Santa Clara in central Cuba.
After ages of expensive and awkward charter flights, a new air travel agreement between the Cold War rivals means up to 110 commercial flights a day can go between cities throughout Cuba and the U.S.
This step is another evidence of changed US stance since President Obama’s decision in December 2014 to re-shape diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ever since, officials have revived embassies in Washington and Havana, U.S. companies have signed new business deals in Cuba, and more Americans are traveling to the island.
According to reports, approximately 161,000 Americans, not including Cuban Americans visiting relatives, made the trip in 2015, a 77% rise from the previous year. Travel experts say that number will surge even higher now that flying to Cuba will be just a few clicks away.
The anticipated rush of American tourists remains a hard thing to see to those who were against the new relationship with communist Cuba.
Follwing the deal Cuba’s increasing class of private businesspersons will benefit the most. Privately run restaurants known as paladares have thrived. President Raúl Castro has given lisences to more Cubans to operate as private taxi drivers and tour guides. And travelers can now stay in more than 8,000 private homes through San Francisco-based Airbnb.
According to reports Cuba presently has about 63,000 hotel rooms on the entire island, and those are regularly booked months before the winter tourist season or big events. The government is looking to more than double that number, but this will take long time.