Saturday, September 17, 2016

Americans flocking to Cuba's beaches

Americans flocking to Cuba's beaches
Delta adds VIP suites -- and Russian rifles on a plane?
By: Ron Pradinuk
Posted: 09/17/2016 4:00 AM | Comments: 0

This week's column features a potpourri of news from the travel industry
— from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Canadians today — and in the near future — are likely to continue to
deliver the greatest number of visitors to Cuba on an annual basis. But
with more announcements that seem to be coming through regularly about
new flights and ships being allowed by the U.S. government to travel to
and from Cuba, it is becoming an increasingly popular destination for
Americans. Twice as many U.S. citizens visited Cuba in the last year as
the year before, and those numbers are expected to increase exponentially.

But equally noteworthy, it is also becoming a new sought after
destination for other nations, as well. European tourism to Cuba is
reported to be up by 60 per cent. It is believed these increases are in
no small part because of security concerns at other destinations, which
were once traditional favourites for the European travel market. The
Middle East and Africa are two of the regions quoted in travel reports
put out by the huge French hospitality company Accor, who operate a
number of tourist properties around the world, and in Cuba.

Business to the island is projected to be so good that Air France has
announced it will increase its schedule to Cuba from 11 to 28 weekly
flights starting in November.

Finding accommodations for all the new and return visitors to stay may
become a short-term challenge, as Cuba rushes to make as many deals as
possible, as quickly as they can, to increase hotel and resort capacity
for the future.

While Americans are not supposed to be staying at resort properties,
there are no such restrictions for the French and other European travellers.

One of Accor's most desired properties in Havana, the Hotel Seville,
could be booked for US$120 last year and as of November will be
available only for those willing to shell out US$280 per night.

It's only a toy!

The gun lobby in the United States may think it's a nifty idea, but many
Canadians may look upon it with a more discerning eye.

The newest souvenirs that are apparently selling quite well at Moscow's
Sheremetyevo International Airport are items relating to Russia's best
known assault rifle, the Kalashnikov.

This was the gun used by warriors of all sorts, not just the Russians.
It was a big seller for the Russian manufacturer who were glad to sell
it to just about anyone who wanted to buy. It has often been associated
with terrorist groups, as well.

Now, the Moscow airport store sells T-shirts and other trinkets with the
insignia I Love AK, alongside replica models of the gun.

While officials say it is easy to see that the model is not real, I
can't think of any airline flying to Europe or North America who would
allow it on board. And it seems it may be a little large to put into
one's suitcase.

It should be a well-known fact by now that any replica of a weapon,
large or small, that a passenger attempts to take on an aircraft will
not only be confiscated, but the passenger will likely be denied the
flight, and potentially even charged with a crime.

At the same time, the Kalashnikov is certainly a brand that is
recognized around the world, and associated with Russia.

Every country has to be known for something. I am not sure any other
countries would take pride in knowing that it is their favourite weapon
of war that identifies them with greatness.

Read Ron's blog at Listen to Ron's latest podcast
every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. via his website or on demand on iTunes.

Source: Americans flocking to Cuba's beaches - Winnipeg Free Press -

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