As Havana turns 500, US interest in Cuba travel lags

Tourists take a joy ride in a vintage convertible car as they pass the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, Monday, March 18, 2019. The U.S. State Department said Friday, March 15, 2019 that it is eliminating a coveted five-year tourist visa for Cubans, dealing a heavy blow to entrepreneurs and Cuban members of divided families, who used the visas to see relatives in the U.S. and buy precious supplies for their businesses on the island. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Havana, Cuba, turns 500 years old in November, but a survey finds that fewer people in the U.S. are interested than last year in visiting the island.

In a survey of 1,500 adults by the travel assurance and assistance company Allianz Global Assistance, only 2.4% of respondents said they are very likely to plan a trip to Cuba, down from 3% in 2018 and 5% in 2017. Meanwhile, the share of respondents who said they were not likely to go to Cuba has risen to 85.4%, up from 82% last year and 76% in 2017.

More than 90% of survey respondents said they didn’t know Havana celebrates its 500th birthday this year, and while 6.8% of respondents said they knew about it and were more likely to visit for that reason, 2.3% said the anniversary made them less likely to visit.

The U.S. opened travel to Cuba in 2014. Nearly 2 of 3 respondents didn’t know what the actual rules currently entail.

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