Significant Numbers Interested in Traveling to Cuba

June 28, 2016

CUBA-1-big -image -in -cathedral

(Official White House photo from March 2016 when President Barack Obama visited Cuba. He is here with an aide speaking to Cardinal Jamie Ortega while touring a beautiful cathedral in Old Havana.)

A new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found healthy consumer interest in travel to Cuba, with 42.9 percent of Americans polled saying they are very or somewhat interested in visiting the Caribbean island. The survey was conducted online among 1,001 respondents from June 10 through June 16.

The Polling Institute also asked about the destination around the same time last year, and interest was nearly identical at 42 percent in June 2015. Most respondents who voiced interest in traveling to Cuba cited “general curiosity” at 60.9 percent as the main appeal for making a trip. Other reasons were interest in arts and culture; history and politics; and in the environment or the ecology there.

Still, there are practical impediments,CUBA-story _Heather -John _2_2014 said John Heather, Saint Leo University instructor of international tourism and hospitality management (pictured).  

“It is hard to find a flight, hard to find a hotel. Until Cuba improves their tourism product to American standards and adds more inventory, it won’t happen,” Heather predicted.

But cruise ships could become the bright spot for growth among Americans traveling to Cuba, he added. Vacationers could stay in the ships’ accommodations while making excursions to visit and sightsee.

The institute also found through a parallel survey of 500 Florida residents that interest in travel among residents of the Sunshine State is essentially the same as consumers nationally.

Here are more detailed results on the interest the island holds for people.

Which of the following are reasons why you are interested in traveling to Cuba? Please indicate all that apply.


Reasons for interest in travel to Cuba

U.S. June 2016 - %

Florida June 2016 -%

General curiosity



Arts and culture



History and politics



Environment and ecology






Family ties



Catholic life and church



Health care and medical system