Le Lézard
Classified in: Tourism and vacations
Subject: TRAVEL

Easing of Travel Restrictions Encourages Nearly Half of Americans to Consider Travel to Cuba, but Safety Concerns Loom Large in Travel Plans

RICHMOND, VA --(Marketwired - April 01, 2016) - While almost half of Americans are now interested in traveling to Cuba following the U.S. government's easing of travel restrictions and improved diplomatic relations, a survey by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance found 70 percent of survey respondents were currently unlikely to do so -- citing safety concerns, lack of traveler information and trepidation over visiting a communist-governed country.

The survey, conducted during President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, found that 42 percent of Americans would like to visit Cuba and that the easing of travel restrictions made 35 percent more interested in the prospect of legally traveling to the country. But it also revealed that just 7 percent would actually be "very likely" to plan a trip to Cuba, while 22 percent were only "somewhat likely" to do so, and the remaining 70 percent were not at all likely.

The major anxieties for Americans are safety concerns (44 percent) and fear of communist government (15 percent). Others felt there is a lack of: information on Cuba's travel experiences (18 percent), travel infrastructure (12 percent), internet/mobile connectivity (7 percent) or appropriate healthcare facilities (6 percent).

What would make American travelers more likely to visit Cuba?

The survey results showed that Americans want to keep their experiences inside their comfort zone, with 33 percent responding that beach resorts would make them more interested and likely to travel to Cuba. That is well ahead of Cuba's cultural attractions (24 percent), the Cuban people (12 percent), Cuban food and rum (11 percent), classic 1950s American cars (9 percent), Cuban cigars (5 percent) and family and friends (5 percent).

Of the adventurous few that are likely to visit Cuba, only 4 percent plan on doing so in 2016, while 10 percent will do so in 2017, and the remainder don't know. When U.S. travelers do start visiting Cuba in large numbers, more than half of Americans (55 percent) believe the country will change for the better.

With safety the top concern holding back travelers, 15 percent of Americans said the peace of mind of having travel insurance would make them more interested in traveling to Cuba.

"With safety concerns playing a large role in Americans' traveling decisions, it's important for everyone to protect themselves with travel insurance," said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. "Whether it's a medical issue or a travel delay, a travel insurance policy from Allianz Global Assistance can provide peace of mind, especially for travel outside the U.S., where many hospitals may request cash payments in the thousands before treatment even begins. Many U.S. health insurance policies (including Medicare and Medicaid) may not cover international travel; those that do may not cover the cost of medical evacuation."

The right travel insurance policy can provide coverage and assistance for many unforeseen or unexpected events like covered trip cancelations and delays, lost, stolen or delayed luggage, medical emergencies and more.*

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS.

Methodology: This 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population on March 21, 2016, through Google Consumer Surveys, receiving 2,282 responses. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings is below.
--  After the U.S. Government's recent announcement easing travel
    restrictions to Cuba, would you like to travel to Cuba?
    --  58% - No, I would not like to travel to Cuba.
    --  42% - Yes, I would like to travel to Cuba.
--  Do the easing of these restrictions on travel to Cuba make you more or
    less interested in visiting the country?
    --  35% - More interested.
    --  8% - Less interested.
    --  57% - No change.
--  How likely are you to actually plan a visit to Cuba?
    --  70% - Not likely.
    --  22% - Somewhat likely.
    --  7% - Very likely.
--  If you feel likely to take a trip to Cuba, when do you think you will
    --  2% - In the next 6 months.
    --  2% - Sometime in 2016.
    --  10% - Sometime in 2017.
    --  34% - I don't know.
    --  53% - I don't feel likely to take a trip to Cuba.
--  What would make you less interested/likely to travel to Cuba?
    --  44% - Safety concerns.
    --  18% - Lack of information on Cuba's travel experiences.
    --  15% - Fear of communist government.
    --  12% - Lack of travel infrastructure.
    --  7% - Lack of internet/mobile connectivity.
    --  6% - Lack of appropriate healthcare facilities.
--  What would make you most interested/likely to travel to Cuba?
    --  33% - Resorts and beaches.
    --  24% - Cultural attractions.
    --  12% - The Cuban people.
    --  11% - Cuban food and Cuban rum.
    --  9% - Classic 1950s American cars.
    --  5% - Cuban cigars.
    --  5% - Family/friends.
--  Do you expect Cuba to change for the better or worse as a result of the
    U.S. easing travel restrictions to the country?
    --  55% - Better.
    --  8% - Worse.
    --  38% - No change.
--  What negative changes do you expect opening Cuba to U.S. travelers will
    have on the country?
    --  39% - I don't expect any negative changes.
    --  13% - Rapid modernization; Cuba's not ready for it.
    --  13% - The next Cancun; a theme park for tourists.
    --  11% - A loss of Cuban culture.
    --  10% - An increase in all-inclusive resort hotels.
    --  7% - Worse lives for Cuban people.
    --  7% - Overcrowding of world-heritage sites.
--  Are you concerned an influx of American travelers will ruin the timeless
    feeling of the country?
    --  7% - Very concerned.
    --  12% - Concerned.
    --  19% - Mildly concerned.
    --  29% - Neutral.
    --  14% - Not concerned, it will not change.
    --  20% - Not concerned, it will change for the better.
--  Would the peace of mind of having travel insurance change your interest
    in traveling to Cuba?
    --  14% - Yes, more interested with travel insurance.
    --  45% - No, it doesn't address my concerns.
    --  41% - Unchanged, I don't want to travel to Cuba.

Allianz Global Assistance USA

Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company. We insure 21 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers, and credit card companies.

To learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance, please visit allianztravelinsurance.com or Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS.

*Terms, conditions, reductions, and exclusions apply to all plans. All plans not available in all states. For a complete description of the coverage and benefit limits offered under your plan, carefully review your letter of confirmation and certificate of insurance/policy. Insurance coverage is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated "A-"(Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated "A+" (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on the insured's state. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage because of the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company.

Contact Information:

Media Contact:
Daniel Durazo

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