Reuters reported later last month that Cuban President Raul Castro dismissed rumors that his older brother Fidel Castro was at death's door. Whether Fidel Castro is or isn’t near death, however, may have little effect on whether travel restrictions get lifted from the U.S.
On a positive note, it appears as though Raul Castro is fond of President Obama. Reuters reported that Raul Castro had followed Obama's inauguration on television and “had a good opinion of the United States' first black president.” On the flip side, Obama has said he wants to move toward normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations but he does not plan to end the U.S. trade embargo imposed against the Caribbean island in 1962.
Although we may still be years away, major Caribbean brands, such as SuperClubs resorts, have already set up shop there and other major brands such as Sandals resorts have also been rumored for a planned expansion there. Cuba, as Travel Agent told you earlier this year, plans to build 30 new hotels by 2010. But whereas agents might welcome Cuba travel with open arms, some tourism destinations may not want it to come anytime soon. After all, tourism for many destinations will be challenged in 2009 with the economic struggles still at full strength. The last obstacle certain destinations need is another vacation spot stealing their business. Specifically, the Dominican Republic and some parts of Mexico have a little to worry about if Cuba becomes an option.