York economic group plans Cuba trip

Eight-night visit set for November to island nation once off-limits to Americans

A year after President Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba, York County economic leaders are making plans for a trip this November.

The York County Economic Alliance and Travel Time Travel are hosting the Nov. 11-19 tour, which will visit the capital city, Havana, plus historic Old Havana, a banana plantation, Milton Hershey’s sugar plantations and sugar mills, and other sites.

There also will be time for leisure, organizers said.

John Bailey, Travel Time’s co-owner, suggested the trip to the YCEA, York County’s chamber of commerce and largest business organization, so visitors could see Cuba as it has been for the past half-century-plus.

Once Fidel Castro took power in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, the U.S. and Cuba broke off relations, and a long-standing travel ban kept most Americans from seeing the country.

Now, Obama’s announcement is expected to lead to many commercial opportunities and signs of Americanization on the island.

November’s eight-night Cuba trip will “take travelers off the beaten track to experience a culture and country that is otherwise inaccessible to Americans,” according to information on YCEA’s website.

The YCEA recently announced a partnership with Travel Time and Bailey’s York-based Bailey Coach providing travel opportunities for alliance members.

The YCEA will host an informational session on the Cuba trip on March 31, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Comfort Inn & Suites, 2250 N. George St., York.

Bailey remembered his father telling him that Cuba was “like the Las Vegas of the Caribbean” back in the 1950s, before the communist takeover of Cuba by Castro and the break in relations between the two countries.

For more information, visit www.ycea-pa.org/trips.

David O’Conner, Central Penn Business Journal

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