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World

Cuban towns still waiting for that tourism boom

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World

Cuban towns still waiting for that tourism boom

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00:00:00
>> The first commercial flight from the United States to Cuba in more than 50 years has landed, but the American tourism boom is nowhere to be seen. I'm Jeffrey Dastin and I cover travel and the airline industry for Reuters. I'm standing here in Santa Clara, a city in the center of Cuba where the new air service has begun.
00:00:20
Here, an important battle took place during the Cuban Revolution in 1959. And behind me, you can see a statue to Che Guevara for which the city is now known. While one bus did drop off some Americans here earlier today, they largely have been absent from this plaza. In fact, a taxi I took earlier today in a Russian car from the 1970s, had a driver who told me he had never seen or taken a trip with an American before.
00:00:49
After which we took a photo together. Those who rent out their homes, in what are known as casas particulares, say that the new air service to Santa Clara will help bring people to their city. They say it will largely be those of Cuban descent who are here to visit their relatives.
00:01:05
However, they say until the United States lifts a prohibition on its citizens from visiting Cuba for general tourism, there will not be that much change. Tourism officials here have said the same. While Americans have done what they can to get to the Cuban capital Havana, either citing 1 of 12 exceptions to the travel ban to get there, or going illegally.
00:01:29
There seems to be less of an urgency by Americans to get here and to other cities such as Holguin or Camaguey with which with they are much less familiar. Nonetheless, the casas particulares owners told me they're waiting here for the day when the Americans can come with open arms.