Impact of Changing US-Cuba Relations on Push and Pull Travel ...

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The study explored the push and pull travel motivations for visiting and revisiting Cuba before and after Obama administration efforts to ease travel restrictions to Cuba. Nine participants in a professional delegation to Cuba were interviewed via Skype prior to their trip to Cuba in 2013. In May 2015, follow-up semi-structured interviews were conducted with six of the nine 2013 trip participants to examine their motivations to revisit Cuba after Obama announced plan to normalize US-Cuba relations. Two independent researchers transcribed interviews verbatim, coded data, and identified emergent themes. Perception of Cuba as an intriguing place with a distinct culture, and a unique opportunity to gain own perspective were the key motivators for travel to Cuba in 2013. The follow-up interviews in 2015 revealed participants intended to revisit Cuba in the future and travel independently. Participants wanted to revisit the beautiful natural resource they had visited during their 2013 trip, but also independently explore new natural resources and “hang out” with Cubans, which they felt they were not allowed to do during their professional trip to Cuba in 2013. They expressed they had to revisit Cuba in a near future before the island becomes “Cancunized” due to the influx of American tourists once relations with Cuba were normalized.