Apple Vacations to Enter Cuba Market
Apple Vacations announced it is entering the Cuba travel market with two itineraries that travel agents can begin booking July 9. Apple will sell the tours under the people-to-people programs licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assetys Control (OFAC). “We’re proud to be one of the first main street tour operators to bring affordable packages to Cuba [to U.S. agents and clients],” said Tim Mullen, Apple Vacations’ president. Mullen said that while the current collection of Cuba tours are typically ten- to 14-day programs with rates starting at $7,500 per person, Apple’s Cuba offerings are five- to seven-night tours starting at about $2,300 per person. Other tour operators’ Cuba programs are not “conducive to most Americans’ schedules,” which typically allow for seven-night schedules, he added.
Apple is entering the market because “the American demand for Cuba has been at an all-time high,” with the recent easing of U.S. travel restrictions to the island nation, Mullen said. He said the new Cuba vacations “are not your typical, run-of-the-mill Apple beach vacation but more of a traditional tour of Cuba."
Apple is working with U.S.-based Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami to Cuba on Sun Country Airlines and American Airlines. Apple’s five-night Havana Getaway is priced from $2,233 per person, double occupancy, with departures on Sept. 5 and Oct. 17. Its Colors of Cuba tour is priced from $2,733 per person with departures on Sept. 11 and 25 and Oct. 8. Mullen said Apple plans to add more departures in the late fall and in 2016.