"There's an ongoing and growing interest in Cuba," said Emily Fisher, the head of North American Communications for Cheapflights.com, to Fox News Latino earlier this month. "The people who are interested in going are interested in getting a snapshot of Cuba before it changes."
This idea of Cuba – the beat-up 1950s Chevrolets, crumbling post-colonial architecture and anti-imperialist propaganda – poses a bigger threat to the Dominican tourism industry trying to attract U.S. visitors than its neighbor's beaches and weather. For decades, U.S. travelers have been denied these iconic, Cold War-era relics and now many want to see them for themselves before outside investment turns the island into a more traditional tourist destination like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the slew of other islands dotting the Caribbean basin.
"We run head to head in the sun and sand departments with Cuba," [Simón Suárez, the president of the Dominican Hotel and Restaurant Association] said. "But the Cuban charm that is something we have to compete with."That Cuban charm led many to risk their lives fleeing the island on rafts.