No Tourism Allowed: Landscapes of U.S. Travel in Cuba

Authors: Dereka Rushbrook*, University of Arizona
Topics: Latin America, Tourism Geography
Keywords: tourism, Cuba
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Although Americans are still not permitted to travel to Cuba for tourism, the number of Americans visiting Cuba has expanded rapidly since then-President Barack Obama relaxed restrictions governing U.S. travel to the island. Many visitors rushed to see the island "before things changed." While in Cuba, however, U.S. guidelines mean that visitors who would usually travel independently instead often participate in "people-to-people" travel, as part of groups engaged in a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people." The Cuban government has identified tourism as a strategic sector central to its economic future and recognizes the importance of diversifying the industry. The nature of travel by U.S. tourists, however, in conjunction with the existing tourism infrastructure in Cuba, has meant that these activities concentrate in sites that are able to receive these larger groups, reinforcing uneven tourism landscapes. This presentation explores the nature and implications of these patterns.

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