Friendly Planet is the latest to drop its Cuba prices
By Gay Nagle Myers / March 06, 2017
Friendly Planet has announced price cuts on its six packaged
people-to-people tours to Cuba, wrangling significant reductions of up
to $1,000 per person, depending on the length of the tour.
This move comes on the heels of InsightCuba's rate cuts on its
people-to-people programs, which were announced last month.
Insight's president, Tom Popper, attributed his company's price drop to
a decrease in prices issued from state-run agencies and hotels in Cuba.
Those rates had risen sharply following the U.S.'s easing of travel
sanctions in December 2014.
Peggy Goldman, founder and president of Friendly Planet, concurred,
saying that the earlier price increases by Cuba "were simply
unsustainable. Major hotels in Cuba, which had increased rates last
summer for the current winter season, experienced cancellations this
Goldman, along with other major tour companies engaged in operating
large programs to Cuba, traveled to the island last year to speak to
suppliers about the increases.
"The suppliers did not believe us [when told the rates were too high].
The result was a lot of empty rooms this winter during a period that is
normally sold out. The hotels began dropping their rates," she said.
"The price reductions are intended to be incentives to lure reluctant
travelers back to the demand seen in recent years," Goldman said.
Friendly Planet's price reductions are in effect through October,
"although we expect them to continue through the end of the year."
Goldman cautioned that since there is involvement by the Cuban
government in determining tariffs, "we actually can't tell how long the
discounts will continue. If the Ministry of Tourism decides to increase
rates again, it may mean another round of price hikes."
Her advice to travelers interested in visiting Cuba: do it now while the
prices are reduced.
In addition to its packaged tours, Friendly Planet operates a number of
escorted FITs for individuals and small groups of up to seven or eight
"We don't operate independent tours, but we hope to offer this service
by the end of the year," Goldman said.
Friendly Planet also may launch a program later this year that will span
the entire island from Havana eastward to Santiago de Cuba.
Source: Friendly Planet is the latest to drop its Cuba prices: Travel
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