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Cuba: officially open for tourists, but are they ready?

by AirTalk®

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Tourists walk in Havana. The first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than a half century landed in the central city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

The first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than a half century landed in the central city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, re-establishing regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War.  

The flight of JetBlue 387 opens a new era of U.S.-Cuba travel, with about 300 flights a week connecting the U.S. with an island cut off from most Americans by the 55-year-old trade embargo on Cuba and formal ban on U.S. citizens engaging in tourism on the island.

The restart of commercial travel between the two countries is one of the most important steps in President Barack Obama's two-year-old policy of normalizing relations with the island. Historians disagree on the exact date of the last commercial flight but it appears to have been after Cuba banned incoming flights during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

How ready is Cuba for the glut of expected tourists? What are the the country’s infrastructural challenges?

With AP files

Guests:

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC correspondent who has just spent the summer on a reporting trip in Cuba; she lived and reported on Cuba two decades ago; she tweets @deepaKPCC

Christopher P Baker, Cuba travel expert and travel writer and photographer; he tweets @CubaExpert

Andy Gomez, Cuba scholar and former senior fellow and special assistant to the President for International Affairs at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami

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