US Searches Increase by 180%
When the week preceding Obama’s statement (9th – 16th December) was compared to the week following the speech (17th – 24th December), hotel searches made by US users to Cuba as a whole had risen by 180 per cent.
Searches were for a hotel stay during the following three months (9th December – 9th March and 17th December – 17th March, respectively). When specific destinations within Cuba were looked at, US searches to the capital of Havana increased by 206 per cent and searches to the resort of Varadero increased by 166 per cent over the same period.
UK Searches Increase by 42%
When searches to Cuba from other countries were looked at (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), an increase in travel interest was noted from all countries except Germany. Searches made by UK users increased by 42 per cent, Italy by 30 per cent, France by 26 per cent and Spain by 12 per cent.
Searches made by German users decreased by 25 per cent, over the same period of time. A similar trend was seen when individual destinations within Cuba were looked at: UK searches to Havana increased by 35 per cent and searches to Varadero increased by 64 per cent over the same period.
While US searches focused around Havana and Varadero, users from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy also searched for Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Santiago de Cuba and Cayo Santa María.
Denise Bartlett, UK Public Relations:
“Although it is unlikely the US travel restrictions will be lifted within the next three months, a preliminary increase in hotel searches made by US users indicates the likelihood of strong travel interest in the future.
The presence of Cuba in the media also prompted an increase in searches from other countries, in particular the UK, Italy, France and Spain. There has been some speculation in the media that now could be the prime time to visit Cuba – perhaps visitors from these countries are keen to visit before the country undergoes would could be a dramatic change.