USA To Restore Commercial Flights To Cuba

February 13, 2016

The U.S. Government will announce Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Cuba to restore commercial air travel between the two countries, according to a report from Politico.

“This arrangement establishes scheduled air service of up to 30 daily direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba, will facilitate authorized travel, enhanced traveler choices, and strengthen people-to-people links between the two countries,” according to the notice sent by the Department of Transportation to congressional offices.

CNN is also reporting the same, saying: “In just a matter of days, U.S. airlines will begin a fierce bidding war to win routes and airport slots to a destination that’s been off-limits to them for more than 50 years: Cuba.

“Starting Tuesday, U.S. carriers will have 15 days to submit applications to the Department of Transportation for routes they’d like to fly between the U.S and Cuba.

“The development brings airlines and travelers yet another step closer to scheduled commercial flights between the two countries.”

Cuba USA flag banner

Last year the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association [CHTA] released a position paper on the impact for the wider tourism industry due to the opening of travel to Cuba for United States citizens, calling it the “biggest and most disruptive pebble to be dropped into the Caribbean pool in fifty years.”

The paper said, “The CHTA expects that those islands and countries nearest to Cuba will feel the greatest ripple effects and believes it would be wise for them to begin planning ways to mitigate those effects now.

“As for the other destinations in the Caribbean, the CHTA is of the view that the consequences might be more muted but in the end the total Caribbean travel landscape will be changed forever.

“The Caribbean, the most tourism dependent region in the world could use a good shaking up. For decades, with few exceptions, it has relied on its natural advantages of sun, sand, sea, welcoming populations and, more than anything else, its relative proximity to the United States, the largest economy on earth, for much of its success.”

In response to the paper, the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s Chief Investment Officer Andy Burrows said, “Like the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, we believe Cuba’s inclusion as a direct visitor destination for American travellers will have a sizable impact on many tourism industries, including Bermuda’s.

“However, also like the CHTA, we believe the impact is less pronounced the further the destination is from Cuba geographically. As everyone in Bermuda knows, our destination is not geographically in the Caribbean. Our position in the Atlantic provides some insulation.

“For example, we feel it is unlikely that cruise lines with established and valued itineraries to Bermuda, from ports such as New York and Boston, would be inclined to change their itineraries to Cuba. The geography of such a move would be very difficult from a business point of view.”

“However, Cuba should not be ignored,” Mr Burrows added. “We think the CHTA’s paper is a reminder to all of Bermuda that we must redouble efforts already underway.”

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  1. swing voter says:

    we are toast….burnt toast

    • obasellouts says:

      Why?

      • Bye Bermuda says:

        We are already toast.. Now we will be burnt toast because some of the tourist that visit Bermuda may choose Cuba over us. We lack just about everything a tourists wants here:

        - All-inclusive hotels
        - Proper transportation (not these death trap rentals)
        - Lack of Entertainment and Nightlife (Night Clubs end at 3:00am! What a Joke)
        - Competitive Hotel Pricing (No moderate to inexpensive hotels)
        - Competitive Airline Ticket Pricing
        - Relaxed laws
        - Lack of tourist attractions and big events and expos etc.
        - Our Beaches are bare with no Beach Bars/Restaurants
        - City of Hamilton has no Entertainment/Tourist District
        - No Casino’s, not even Crown & Anchor on Harbour Nights
        - What happened to the submarine that we had in Dockyard?

        We cant’ even advertise Bermuda properly. When is the last time you have seen a commercial or TV show about Bermuda on TV?

    • Bye Bermuda says:

      Bermuda will not enhance its product. We keep targeting our island to the wealthy, and it’s not working.

      Bye Bermuda…. BTA/OBA/PLP won’t help. We are still building hotels to target the wrong market. Our tourism numbers keep declining. The ship is sinking, and we are all spectators of our own demise.

      • Truth (Original) says:

        …sheesh. The sky is not falling.

        Yes, Cuba will be a large draw initially. I wish them success. But, like anything else, the curve will flatten eventually once enough people have gone to see what it all about. Bermuda’s tourism woes are not dependent on Cuba. There are enough tourists to go around.

        We need to:

        build new hotels, they attract tourists.

        Improve our service to our guests, it is generally mediocre to bad.

        Improve on island offerings and attractions. It can be so boring here.

        Get the pricing under control. It shouldn’t cost twice as much to get to Bermuda than other Caribbean destinations.

        And lastly, Compete ! Somewhere along the way, we forgot what it means and looks like to compete.

        You want tourists? You have to compete for them.

        The sky is not falling. The landscape is changing.

        • Bye Bermuda says:

          “build new hotels, they attract tourists.” What a Ritz Carlton – News Stead type?? That model of targeting the wealthy is not working. We completely miss out on the largest percentage of the US market which is the middle class. Even other islanders can’t afford to come here.

          And you think throwing more money at something will fix it? You’ve missed the whole reason why people choose other destinations over Bermuda.

          • Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

            if we can hardly afford to live here how can a tourist afford to visit..people want something different….cheap cruises and they will start going to Cuba..

  2. Toodle-oo says:

    With all the locals who’ll now be able to conveniently head to Cuba the Bermuda/Miami flight will have a substantial passenger load so if there was any gov’t subsidy on that one it’ll probably now be cancelled .

    The bad news is it doesn’t look like there’ll be any bonuses for the BTA staff for a while .

    • Bermuda sun says:

      The American Miami flight is already a joke. Always full, always north of $700.

      Surely there can’t be a govt subsidy?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Always full of Bermudians off to get on a cruise or go to Disney. Maybe a few connecting to go somewhere else.

      • Bye Bermuda says:

        $700 for a plane ticket is ridiculous for a 2-3hr flight!

        American Airlines Pricing:
        Bermuda to Miami $648 3hr flight
        Trinidad to Miami $247 4hr flight
        Barbados to Miami $602 4hr flight
        Montego Bay to Miami $225 2hr flight

        Why is the Bermuda flight more expensive, and we travel a shorter distance? If the costs were cheaper, I’m sure more people would travel. Most Bermudians do the majority of their shopping overseas since we lack the worlds biggest brands and shops here and just about everything else the rest of the developed world has.

        • Caramel says:

          Looking at that from a Bermuda dollar value may look bad when comparing the Trinidadian flight and the Montego flight. Look at it using their currency. What may seem inexpensive for us may be expensive to them. Remember, it’s all relative!

          I’m sure if Bermuda had any say in pricing of flights. That, I believe is the airline, with the exception of airport fees and the like. The less people who travel here the more prices will increase and those who do travel to or from Bermuda will have to foot the bill I guess.

    • The Original Truth says:

      Bill Hanbury and Shawn Crockwell will still get their massive paychecks. The only creative way they have of selling Bermuda is at half off. Soon everyone’s wages will be half off except the OBA ministers and their charity salesman.

  3. A wise move would be to reduce airfares to Bermuda…Or introduce air/hotel package deals to lure the visitors from elsewhere here and just maybe we can start seeing an increase…

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      Too late…

      • Paradise Reclaimed says:

        Bermuda has failed to market its close proximity to NY and BOS, miserably. It would be wise to cut deals with carriers to throttle-up a little for a 90 minute flight, and make people aware how convenient Bermuda is to these points. Three hours from wheels-up to feet up!

        Never give up, just focus!

        • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

          Well you better sell your soul to the devil then…gambling and ALL its frills…same sex marriages…recreational use of marijuana…because we have NO entertainment or memorable events happening here…absolutely NOTHING…The UBP sure f#@ked everything up when they started to cater to the old elites to come here and have peace n quiet…ultra conservative rest home…that’s what we have become.

    • Kathy says:

      …or better yet, start our own airline to increase competition! Also, PLEASE open more flights to mainland Europe! BA has had the monopoly to the only destination in Europe for TOO MANY years now! Wake up Bermuda…there is a whole European population willing to spend money in Bermuda but we are too stupid to open the direct flood gates!

  4. Reality Check says:

    At the least, the continued opening up of Cuba will have a direct impact on Bermuda’s tourism because Cuba will be one more tourist market pulling its tourists from the same finite market in the USA and Canada

    Driven by Cuba’s opening up, Bermuda’s ‘market share’ will reduce again. Bermuda’s tourist air arrivals are still steadily falling and given the small size Bermuda’s tourist business is grealy affected by small changes

    • Yiddo says:

      Our tourist product is already toast.

      Our business product is not. Listen please OBA.

    • The Original Truth says:

      Canada never stopped commercial air travel to Cuba only America did. Many Canadians have been traveling to Cuba for many years and love it there.

  5. Alan S. says:

    It begins with a whimper BTA!

  6. Alan S. says:

    It all begins with a whimper BTA!

  7. Seriously says:

    Cuba is going to have direct comercial flights from the USA and all the BTA can talk about is that it doubts our cruise ships will change to Cuba. No wonder we are in trouble

  8. my view says:

    This will effect us big time and we need to do something now ,albeit not sure what more can be done . But to say this anouncement will not effect us is just plain wrong. People will flock to Cuba ,with or without associated hotels and the like. We need to get our collective heads out of the sand. Already Bermudians are planning to go there and others will as well with this latest air wars route application stage. Wake up B.T.A.Wake up O.B.A. We can and must do more.Our tourism future depends on it.

    • obasellouts says:

      Can you explain why you think this is going to happen?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Are you serious? Can you not see why Cuba is going to boom & give everywhere in the region, including Bermuda, a licking big time?

        First will be the cost. How can Bermuda compete when hotel operating costs are so high? A cuban hotel GM gets paid less than a chambermaid here. People who have been rave about the friendlyness & SERVICE. Cuba has beaches as good as anywhere else in the area.

        Americans will flock there out of curiosity. Cuba is a treasure trove of old US cars. Restorers, collectors & dealer will go in droves looking to buy old cars. From the SE Cuba is a much easier place to get to.

        Bermuda needs to wake up from its very long slumber. This is not the 60s or 70s when Bermuda wrote the book on successful tourism. Our arrogance towards tourism has about killed the goose that laid that golden egg.

        Now we have CUBA open for business again.

  9. Kangoocar says:

    To all the Obama supporters, your hero just gave you the middle finger, what you think about that?? One day all the clueless Bermudians hopefully will wake up to the fact that Obama and his democrats are no friend of Bermuda’s!!! When hotels lay off more staff, please don’t blame the OBA, put the blame were it really will belong!!!

    • Luis Suarez says:

      I’m not sure Bermuda even entered Obama’s head when he agreed this. In fact, I’m sure it didn’t.

      That said, I did laugh when I saw Obama bumper stickers in Bermuda in the last US election. Clearly all about black people identifying with a black world leader, and yet Obama’s acceptance globally was the very reverse.

      Bermuda jumping on race not policies and people once again….sighs….

      • Kangoocar says:

        Yes I agree that odummer did not even think of Bermuda, which makes it even sillier that these clueless Beemudians support him, of course we know why and you nailed it!!! But what is even more bizarre, is the fact that the vast majority of Bermudians cannot even begin to understand what the Republicans have done for us, President Reagan signed the agreement with the Premier John Swan witch paved the way for our IB sector, and then ever since, the Republican controlled houses have blocked every attempt by the TWO democrat presidents ( Clinton and odummer ) who have tried to tax these companies!!! And yet the clueless locals supports the democrats?? Clinton removed the US bases here and they still love the democrats?? You can’t fix stupid??? Even MLK himself was a Republican, but the clueless refuse to research that fact and ask themselves why??

    • The Original Truth says:

      LMAWO!!! Your blaming Obama now. Do you think any American president ever did something for the good of any British colony? The role of the American president is to be the servant of his citizens not ours. It’s not Obama’s fault tourist want to go to a place that preserves its culture and puts it’s people over expats. Tourist have long visited Cuba even through America’s embargo they just travel there from countries that still offered flights to Cuba. Communism would have never established in Cuba if it’s Batista government didn’t put expats first over locals.

      • Coffee says:

        Yet again Kangoocar attempts to shift the BTA/OBAs dismal tourism record somewhere else . Never in any Bermudians wildest dream would the culprit of the OBA’ers failures reside in the White House .
        Nevertheless , if Bloomberg wins the race to the presidency it (the White House ) will be like the difference between night and day to people like Kangoocar . 44,907 tourist came to Bermuda last year and fools blame Obama !

        • Kangoocar says:

          I do realize you are basically ” out to lunch somewhere ” when you post your usual nonsense, but this one takes the cake?? Are you NOT aware that Bloomberg has not announced he is running for President??? And I will help you with one other fact, Bloomberg will not run because even he knows that he can’t win!!! Americans will never elect someone that thinks he can control you, to the extent that you will be not allowed to buy a ” big gulp ” from a Seven Eleven store!!! Not only do you handle the truth loosely, you are clueless!!! Which makes you, nothing short of being an imbecile!!!!!!

  10. Whistling Frog says:

    I have always wanted to go to Cuba from young. It was something about the pictures I’ve seen of the country and all the old cars. I’m sure once there it will be a pleasure to be served by the locals. Bermuda has lost its way…

  11. obasellouts says:

    I believe all you people panicking about Cuba are wrong.

    But lets meet back here in 2018 and see how things have gone at that point.

    Because believe it or not there are people who have no desire to go to Cuba.

    • I heart 441 says:

      Haven’t you been enquiring about Cuba on this thread and now you say many people have no desire to travel there! Either you are young or you are totally clueless about Cuba. Personally, I plan to go there in August, perfect timing for me to go before it becomes commercialized by the Yankees.

  12. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Taps playing right now would be appropriate I think..

  13. Triangle Drifter says:

    The begining of Bermuda’s second worst nightmare.

    Some, a very few, have been warning of Cuba opening again for many many years. It was very very obvious with the fall of the Soviet Union. Just a question of time.

    Warnings were ignored.

  14. No laughing matter says:

    Our focus should be on what makes Bermuda unique. Hastily introducing civil unions and/or casinos won’t make us unique as a prime tourist destination. There is no gay marriage or civil unions in Cuba yet millions of tourists flock there every year…

  15. Kathy says:

    HELLO FROM EUROPE…more direct flights from major cities in MAINLAND Europe, please! Paris, Milan, Rome, Geneva, Amsterdam! Wake up BDA! These people have money to BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. james says:

    Cuba has hundreds of miles of beaches as nice as ours.
    Americans are desperate to go there to see what they have been missing for over 50 years. I am sure the airline will be subsidised by their government
    Just lke Aruba did after they switched from being an oil refinery to a tourist resort. It is a year round climate not three or four months like Bermuda. I went last year. Lots of potential and I am sure the next thing is that the car ferries will be reinstated so people can drive there.
    Their tourists will come from the exact same place ours do.
    Go and see it before there is a *$ and a McDonald’s on every corner!

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