Globus announced Tuesday that it has become the latest tour operator to obtain a license that allows the operator to sell Cuba legally to U.S. clients.
This was Globus' second attempt to get approval to send U.S. clients to Cuba. Back in 2011, Globus was looking into sending U.S. clients to Cuba in 2012 on religious tours approved by the Center for Caribbean Religion and Culture. Those plans, however, were scrapped after the U.S. Department of the Treasury began cracking down on who these operators were getting their licenses from.
Globus instead directed its focus toward getting a license through the People to People education program. The People to People education program is an initiative that 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 during his first term. Insight Cuba got the ball rolling in 2011. After Insight Cuba became the first licensed operator to sell Cuba through the People-to-People initiative, other operators joined suit, including Collette Vacations, National Geographic Expeditions and International Expeditions.
And they keep coming.
Last week, Central Holidays added Cuba to the list with a new People-to-People “Discover Cuba” cultural exchange offer. The program allows travelers to connect with the country’s architecture, music, art and culture in an authentic way by facilitating exchange between them and residents.
The eight-day itinerary includes exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Havana, the Cathedral of Havana (1748) and “Maqueta de la Habana Vieja” Museum, which houses a detailed scaled model of Havana. Clients will also hike through Vinales Valley and Pinar del Rio, known for its landscape of flat-top Mountains, or “mogotes,” reminiscent of a prehistoric era. Guided tours of a cigar factory, tobacco farm, rum factory, meats in local restaurants, crafts market, and a dance studio offers guests various opportunities to participate in the culture they are learning about. Agents should note that Premier World Discovery/CE, the strategic partner of Central Holidays, has been granted a license to provide this cultural exchange by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Meanwhile, Globus is presenting travelers with a rare opportunity to experience the colorful history and lively culture of this captivating nation with two new itineraries: Undiscovered Cuba (nine days) and Cuba’s Charming Colonial Cities & Havana (nine days).
“We’re thrilled to be among an elite group of tour companies granted a license by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, which allows us to offer small group, people-to-people educational exchange programs to Cuba,” said Scott Nisbet, chief executive officer for the Globus family of brands, in a written release. “We have put together two culturally interesting and diverse programs that give our travelers the rare opportunity to engage in meaningful and insightful discussions with the Cuban people.”
Undiscovered Cuba will give travelers the chance to spend a week in Havana, enjoying a perfect blend of historical and cultural sights while engaging with local people. The program includes partaking in a discussion on Havana’s unique architecture, interacting with a variety of artist and musicians, discussing (with cigar rollers) the importance of tobacco in Cuba, meeting with students from the University of Havana, participating in a hands-on experience with the workers at a silk screening studio and more.
Focused on the culture and colonial cities of Cuba and its hub, Havana, Globus’ second unique program (Cuba’s Charming Colonial Cities & Havana) offers Americans the chance to enjoy the Cuban scenery, stories and interactions with the people from Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) and Havana.
Activities on this program include meeting members of the American Car Association; interacting with a variety of artist and musicians; a workshop at Casa de Africa discussing the African culture in Cuba and the Santeria religion; interacting with members of the Santo Angel neighborhood; meeting the dancers, teachers, and costume makers at the world-famous Camagüey Ballet Company; discussing baseball (Cuba and America’s favorite pastime) with a Cuban player and more.
“Great storytelling and cultural interactions with locals can bring a destination to life,” said Nisbet. “These new people-to-people programs in Cuba present an especially interesting opportunity for travelers to connect with a culture – and its amazing people – to create important and memorable interactions for all.”
Globus’ nine-day Cuba itineraries start at $2,974 (land-only). Purchase of these itineraries requires the purchase of intra-vacation air from Globus, Miami to Cuba and return, starting at $496.
For more information and a full list of Cuba booking and travel guidelines, agents can visit www.GlobusFamilyPartner.com.