Jonesboro residents' interest in travel to Cuba rises

Jonesboro residents' interest in travel to Cuba rises

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - As US and Cuba relations begin to change, interest from Region 8 tourists begins to rise.

Jonesboro travel agencies such as Travel With Us Tours and Cruises and International Tours have talked with some tourists about getting the chance to travel to Cuba. John Frankel said it isn't as simple as booking a seat on a plane whenever you want. There are still some restrictions.

In order to spend some time in Havana, tourists will have to get special permission or be a part of an educational tour. Emelda Williams with Travel With Us Tours and Cruises said a tour can fall under the categories of religious, cultural, or educational.

Even though Cuban and American relations are changing, tourists may not see an instantaneous change in travel. Dr. Justin Castro, a Latin American History professor at Arkansas State University, said there will still be an increase in interest.

"I think you will see a bump," Castro said. "I mean, cause I think even with the slow opening up, there will be people who find a way to get into Cuba legally. So I think you will see an increase but I do not think you are going to see the immediate normalization of relations."

With the media attention the subject is getting, Williams is confident that the amount of people wanting to visit this once forbidden country will rise.

"I don't care whether you watch television, or the newspaper or whatever, you're seeing interest in Cuba," Williams said.

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