There’s a lot happening with Cuba, CET and our partners on the front lines! To take advantage of demand for corporate events on the island we’ve launched HabanaLive; our favorite band Cimafunk is making waves; Cubans are preparing for a very special New Year’s Eve; and CET president Collin Laverty weighs in on internet in Cuba and the State Department Travel Advisory.
A NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
HabanaLive, the newest CET company, specializes in a growing type of travel in Cuba: executive retreats, incentive travel, team off-sites and conferences. Harvard Business School profiled Megumi Gordon of HabanaLive this week in “Havana Rising,” capturing the dynamism we feel around us in Cuba, and why Cuba is an inspiring setting for this type of travel. “‘We want to build meaningful, enduring relationships between Cuba and the rest of the world’…It’s about the exchange of ideas, the exchange of culture.”
This corporate event travel in Cuba is unchartered territory. “For the American market, it really hasn’t been done here. So there are tremendous opportunities—we can be first movers,” said Collin Laverty. Let us know when you want to start planning your next team event in Cuba!
CET’s “ORLY” AND CIMAFUNK FEVER
There’s a lot of great content on the CET blog this month. We have an in-depth interview with our superstar guide Orlando Ochoa, covering his life in Regla, his time in the Cuban army, how his love for Eminem taught him English, and the experience of getting carry-out chicken for Diplo. Collin chats with Cimafunk, Havana’s hottest band, where they talk about the artist’s life, trajectory and the importance of getting in the groove.
CET IN THE NEWS
Cuban telecoms company ETECSA has been testing mobile data services this month, aiming to roll out 3G for all Cuban cell phone lines later in the year. In an interview with the Latin American Advisor, CET president Collin Laverty noted "As pricing comes down, it will spur economic opportunity and growth for the state and non-state sectors."
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Eases Security Warning for Travel to Cuba
“Cuba continues to be one of the safest countries in the world to visit,” said Laverty. It’s “a breath of fresh air in a highly politicized process of confusion, anxiety & speculation, which led to an excessive measure by the State Department.”
The Miami Herald: U.S. softens its Cuba travel advisory, still advises caution
Laverty said the initial decision to elevate the Cuban travel advisory was politically motivated and that now the United States is “righting its wrong by assessing that Americans need not reconsider travel to Cuba in order to stay safe.”
Travel Weekly: State Department relaxes Cuba travel advisory
"Level 1 would be ideal, and hopefully we'll get there, but a step to come closer to reality is positive, especially given the stance of this administration on everything related to Cuba so far," said Collin Laverty.
Collin Laverty, an American who runs an educational travel company in Cuba, said he considers Cuba one of the safest countries in the world. "Hundreds of thousands of Americans—and millions of global travelers—enjoy all that it has to offer each year with no health or security risks to note.”
A NEW YEAR IN HAVANA
January 1, 2019 will be a special day in Cuba—not only for the pig roast, rum and fireworks. It will be the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. Whether you’ll be partying with millennials at the Fabrica de Arte, roaming the streets of Old Havana or having never-ending political conversations over dominoes, this New Year’s has the chance to be something truly special.
CET offers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes New Year’s Cuba tour this year. You can get more info and sign up here. Have plans for New Year’s? Check out our upcoming trips section for other great year-round trips.
For these, and many other reasons, we think it’s a great time to start planning a trip to the island. We can help.
The CET Team