Business

Americans Much Less Interested in Traveling to Cuba in 2018

According to a recent annual survey conducted by Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance, the percentage of Americans who are interested in traveling to Cuba has dropped dramatically since 2017.

This year's survey shows that 13 percent of Americans are interested in traveling to Cuba—a dramatic 27 percent drop from 2017, when 40 percent said they would be interested in visiting the country. The 2018 poll also revealed that 82 percent of respondents report being unlikely to plan a trip to Cuba (a six percent increase from 2017).

The survey asked Americans about the recent news of major U.S. airlines expanding service between the United States and Cuba and cruise lines adding more Cuban ports to their itineraries. Only 18 percent of Americans are more interested in visiting the country as a result of these new developments, while eight percent report feeling less interested in visiting Cuba. Almost three-fourths (73 percent) indicated that they were unaffected by this news.

According to the survey results, many Americans feel uncertain about the legality and logistics of traveling to Cuba. In the wake of revised restrictions for U.S. travelers, as well as the elimination of individual "people-to-people" cultural exchange trips, the survey found that many Americans are confused about whether, and how, they can legally travel to the Caribbean nation. A staggering 55 percent of American survey respondents do not understand the current restrictions on travel to Cuba. U.S. travel to Cuba for the purpose of pure tourism was banned by the U.S. government in 1963. It is still not permitted under U.S. or Cuban law—American travelers' reasons for visiting Cuba must generally fall within one of these 12 categories of authorized travel.

The 2018 survey also measured American sentiment regarding Cuba, revealing that 38 percent of American respondents believe that Cuba has changed for the better since travel restrictions to the country were eased. This represents a four percent increase in Americans expressing this belief, up from 34 percent in the 2017 survey.

Response

2016

2017

2018

% change

How likely are you to actually plan a trip to Cuba?

Very Likely

7%

5%

3%

-2%

Somewhat Likely

22%

19%

15%

-4%

Not Likely

70%

76%

82%

+6%

If you feel likely to take a trip to Cuba, when do you think you will go?

In the next 6 months

2%

2%

1%

-1%

(Within the same year)

Sometime in 

2016 – 2%

Sometime in 2017 – 2%

Sometime in 2018 – 2%

N/A

(Sometime in the next year)

Sometime in

2017 – 10%

Sometime in 2018 – 10%

Sometime in 2019 – 5%

-5%

I don't know

34%

28%

25%

-3%

I don't feel likely to take a trip to Cuba

53%

59%

67%

+8%

Are you concerned the influx of American travelers over the years will ruin the timeless feeling of the country?

Very concerned

7%

7%

4%

-3%

Concerned

12%

8%

7%

-1%

Mildly concerned

19%

17%

8%

-9%

Neutral

29%

29%

27%

-2%

Not concerned, it will not change

14%

14%

15%

+1%

Not concerned, it will change for the better

20%

25%

38%

+13%

Would the peace of mind of having travel insurance change your interest in traveling to Cuba?

Yes, more interested with travel insurance

14%

15%

8%

+7%

No, it doesn't address my concerns

45%

39%

33%

-6%

Unchanged, I don't want to travel to Cuba

41%

46%

60%

+14%

"Our survey found that only one percent of Americans think they will go to Cuba in the next six months, two percent believe they will make it there by the end of 2018 and five percent think they will go sometime in 2019," said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. "Despite airlines and cruise lines expanding their services to Cuba, there still seems to be confusion regarding the current travel restrictions to the country."

The survey also indicated that eight percent of Americans would be more interested in traveling to Cuba with the peace of mind provided by travel insurance.

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance** through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, and other travel suppliers, as well as directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com. 

*Methodology: The 2018 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from June 22, 2018 through June 24, 2018, receiving 1,500. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings are listed below:

1. Are you interested in traveling to Cuba?

  • 13.2% - Yes
  • 12.0% - Maybe
  • 74.7% - No

2. Does the recent news of airlines expanding service between the U.S. and Cuba and cruise lines adding more Cuba itineraries, make you more or less interested in visiting Cuba?

  • 18.3% - More Interested
  • 8.0% - Less Interested
  • 73.6% - No Change

3. Do you understand the current travel restrictions on travel to Cuba?

  • 22.3% - Yes
  • 21.2% - Somewhat Familiar
  • 56.5% - No

4. How likely are you to actually plan a trip to Cuba?

  • 3.1% - Very Likely
  • 15.0% - Somewhat Likely
  • 82.0% - Not Likely

5. If you feel likely to take a trip to Cuba, when do you think you will go?

  • 1.0% - In the next 6 months
  • 1.7% - Within the same year
  • 4.9% - Sometime in the next year
  • 25.3% - I don't know
  • 67.1% - I don't feel likely to take a trip to Cuba

6. What makes you less interested/likely to travel to Cuba?

  • 14.7% - Safety concerns
  • 5.0% - Lack of info on Cuba's travel experiences
  • 5.6% - Fear of government
  • 3.3% - Lack of travel infrastructure
  • 2.1% - Lack of internet/mobile connectivity
  • 1.8% - Lack of appropriate healthcare facilities
  • 67.6% - None of these

7. What would make you most interested/likely to travel to Cuba?

  • 12.6% - Resorts and beaches
  • 14.0% - Cultural attractions
  • 4.4% - Cuban food and Cuban rum
  • 3.5% - Classic 1950s American cars
  • 2.0% - Cuban cigars
  • 2.1% - Family/friends
  • 61.4% - None of these

8. What negative changes do you think opening Cuba to U.S. travelers has had on the country since 2014?

  • 5.4% - Rapid modernization; Cuba's not ready for it
  • 4.1% - The next Cancun; a theme park for tourists
  • 4.7% - A loss of Cuban culture
  • 3.4% - An increase in all-inclusive resort hotels
  • 3.7% - Overcrowding of world-heritage sites
  • 33.0% - I don't think negative changes have occurred
  • 45.6% - Other

9. Are you concerned the influx of American travelers over the years will ruin the timeless feeling of the country?

  • 4.4% - Very concerned
  • 7.3% - Concerned
  • 8.3% - Mildly concerned
  • 27.0% - Neutral
  • 14.8% - Not concerned, it will not change
  • 38.3% - Not concerned, it will change for the better

10. Would the peace of mind of having travel insurance change your interest in traveling to Cuba?

  • 7.7% - Yes, more interested with travel insurance
  • 32.5% - No, it doesn't address my concerns
  • 59.8% - Unchanged, I don't want to travel to Cuba