Globus Enters Cuba Market

Agents should expect a full-out Cuba gold rush in the coming weeks as three tour operators in less than two weeks have made announcements to send U.S. clients to the once forbidden destination through either the People to People education program or the Center for Caribbean Religion and Culture (CCRC).

Just one day after Abercrombie & Kent announced plans to send clients there beginning in September, Globus announced it will do the same beginning on August 10. Globus, however, will be conducting religious education tours approved by the CCRC as opposed to Abercrombie & Kent, which will be conducting trips trhough the People to People program

The People to People initiative requires Americans to take part in various cultural experiences in Cuba, essentially, as the name implies, putting them in direct contact with the people of Cuba with hopes of learning about the way of life in the country. It was implemented by President Clinton in 1999 and suspended by President Bush in 2004 before President Obama resurrected the program this January.

With help from the Center for Caribbean Religion and Culture, for the first time, Globus will present travelers a rare opportunity to experience the enduring faith, colorful history and lively culture of this captivating nation with its new itinerary for 2012: Cuba: A Spiritual, Historical and Cultural Journey.

Spending seven days in Havana, Globus travelers will enjoy a perfect blend of spiritual, historical and cultural sights to truly experience this unique nation. Tour highlights include enjoying a walking tour along the cobblestone streets of the old town, visiting El Templete where Havana’s first Catholic mass was celebrated nearly 500 years ago, learning about Havana’s unique architecture from a local architect and driving to dinner on the last night in a 1950s car (Cuban law dictates only cars bought before the 1959 Revolution can be freely bought and sold).

Insight Cuba, a division of Cross Cultural Solutions, which specializes in short-term volunteer abroad programs, got the tour operator ball rolling when it announced in late June that it was reauthorized by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to send Americans to Cuba.