Cuba Ranks #2 in Travel & Leisure
Posted: 26 July 2005 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Got a free copy of Travel & Leisure recently at my job. I work for a major media company so it’ one of the few perks left.

I rarely check out this magazine but I was surprised by the high ranking:

Top 5 - Caribbean, Bermuda, & Bahamas

1.  Harbour Island, Bahamas
2.  CUBA
3.  St. John
4.  Bermuda
5.  Virgin Gorda

Here’ a quote from the intro to the results:

“In general, readers are gravitating toward more unusual and authentic places: Istanbul, Bangkok, and Oaxaca have come up in the rankings while standbys from a decade ago, like London, have slipped. This also holds true for island destinations. The past 10 years have seen the rise of Bali, the Seychelles, and Tasmania. . .  And Cuba, a place most Americans are not even permitted to visit, now ranks each year among the Caribbean’ best (it was #1 in 2003).”

Very interesting that Cuba is the only island on the list where Spanish is the main language. I guess PR and DR are too mundane for T&L’ readership.

Given the relative affluence of T&L’ readers, I’m also kind of surprised that certain upscale destinations are missing in the list: the Cayman Islands (maybe because of last year’ hurricane?), St. Maarten, Turks & Caicos. . .  you get the picture. Cuba beats these places?? What the. . . ??

The rankings are based on a poll/survey taken of the magazine’ subscribers/readers. This mag is created and published in the U.S. and geared to Americans. I’m sure Canadians and Britons read it as well, just not in the numbers to push Cuba up to #2 in my humble opinion.

Not one hotel in Cuba ranked anywhere in the list for the Caribbean hotels category, which I expected. I’ve seen some nice properties in Havana and Varadero, but nothing like the premier resorts in Nassau, Cancun, etc. I would guess that for most Cuban hotels, the service and amenities are adequate at best, for all the obvious societal and economic reasons that I think we all here are already informed about. That is not going to impress a reader of Travel & Leisure. And yes, I know, for a Cuban these hotels must seem like paradise!

I think Cuba is ranking this high because of the exoticism of it, the “forbidden fruit” quality, etc. at least for T&L’ readership. Maybe for the Canadians and Europeans, it’ the cheap package deals at the resort ghettoes that make Cuba popular.

I’m sure though, after this recent hurricane, the tourism is going to take a serious hit. But that’ the least of Cuba’ problems. . .

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