A new survey of recent American travelers to Cuba, conducted in March 2017 by Public Opinion Strategies in conjunction with Cuba Educational Travel, illustrates the effectiveness in former President Obama’s policy of directing U.S. engagement towards Cuba’s private sector.
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Key findings include:
U.S. travelers are supporting the Cuban private sector, eating at private restaurants (paladares), hiring private taxis, staying in private b&bs and homestays (casas particulares) and purchasing goods from private artists and artisans.
76% of the travelers stayed in a privately-owned bed and breakfast for some or all of their time on the island.
99% of the travelers ate at a privately-owned restaurant (paladar).
86% of the travelers bought art, crafts, or music from an independent artist.
85% of the travelers hired a privately-owned taxi.
74% of the travelers engaged in discussions with Cuban entrepreneurs.
“This survey proves that American travel to Cuba is empowering the Cuban people by supporting the Island’s growing private sector, which is fueled by foreign travelers. Not only are Americans monetarily supporting Cuban entrepreneurs, but they’re engaging in conversations about U.S. culture and values, internet and technology, and religious freedom. While American travel to Cuba is booming, it’s still illegal to visit our island neighbor as a tourist. It’s time Congress removes this arbitrary restriction to further support Cuban entrepreneurs and the American people. – James Williams, President of Engage Cuba
U.S. travelers are economically supporting state workers, who rely on tips to survive, and offering generous support to Cuban individuals and humanitarian projects. Furthermore, they are talking to average Cubans about free market economics at a moment of economic reform.
82% of the travelers tipped a bellman, maid, or other employee of a state-run hotel during their stay.
62% of the travelers spoke with Cubans about pricing, supply, sourcing, and other market elements.
49% of the travelers made a monetary or material donation to a community program and/or Cuban individual or family.
U.S. travelers are getting off the beaten track and having genuine conversations with Cubans about economic reform, technology and religious freedom.
85% of travelers got into the home of a Cuban individual or family.
84% of travelers spoke with a Cuban about U.S. culture and American society.
70% of travelers spoke with a Cuban about internet and technology.
42% of travelers spoke with a Cuban about religion and/or religious freedom.
U.S. citizens that have actually traveled to Cuba, experiencing the island firsthand and interacting with Cubans of different walks of like, overwhelming believe travel to Cuba provides great benefits to the Cuban people.
While just 14% of travelers believe U.S. travel and business with Cuba benefits the government more than the people.
86% of travelers believe U.S. travel and business with Cuba benefits the Cuban people more than the government.
A summary of the survey is available here.