Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs

Tourism Leaders to Receive Commissions for Participants Who Join Tour

My friends are mostly baby boomers and the destination that seems to be the hot topic right now is CUBA!!!!   Though U.S. citizens haven't been able to travel there for six decades, the tides have changed and increasingly Black Americans are experiencing the Pearl of the Caribbean like never before.  Whether arriving by cruise ship or airplane, Cuba is a destination that never ceases to surprise and guests always go home with an increased understanding of who our closest neighbors are, how much they admire and welcome us and a first-hand opportunity to experience the people, the nature, the architecture, the food, the music, the dance, the love and the sincere pride that Cubans have about their country.

Things have been tough for the residents of Cuba for so long.  Many have never experienced it any other way.  When Fidel Castro rode into town in 1959 and established the new Cuba, most of the people who are now leaders in countless areas, especially tourism, had not been born.  Take Damian Abreu Rodriquez, Going Places International's destination manager and liaison for any and everything our clients want to see and do on the island.  He's a millennial, a businessman, a father and a pillar of the community.  He loves what Castro has done for his home and is committed to helping make Cuba a better place for future generations.  According to Damian, "President Fidel Castro changed the lives of millions in Cuba.  He allowed people to get an education, health care, housing, food and so many other things they were denied under the Battista regime.  I will always support the revolution."  And he's only one of many.

Havana itself, is like New York City, full of people and things to do at all hours of the day and night, however safety is not an issue.  Steal a bicycle, get 15 years in jail.  It's just as simple as that.  Cuba has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to crime; and guns and drugs are virtually non-existent on the island.   FITUR, a global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound Ibero American markets, recently voted Cuba the safest country in the world.  That's no surprise to me or my clients.

And what about poverty?  Sure, it exists, but it's also rampant in every state in the U.S.  Though still, unfortunately many Cubans are not able to live at the standards we enjoy, the reality is that many are!  Damian, and all of our other guides, live in lovely, modest homes of which they are very proud; have good jobs and/or own businesses that serve tourists, as well as locals, and are extremely educated and historically astute.  Remember in Cuba, you can become a heart surgeon for free and for the same price, you can receive a heart transplant.  The island maintains a standard of one doctor for every 150 people and they boast one of the best cadres of medical professionals on the globe.  As a matter of fact, exporting doctors is the number one revenue generator to the country.  It's also worth noting that people from all over the world, including the United States, come to Cuba for cancer treatments and a wealth of other medical procedures.  To further his mission of providing opportunities to Blacks internationally, President Castro also implemented a free medical training program for Black American students that is still in place today.  Their only obligation is to serve their local community when they return home for a period of two years. 

The New York Times recently penned an article on the Cuban Medicare system.  It's worth reading and is certainly a commentary that our administration can learn from.  It's seems unconscionable that a program that works so well in Cuba, isn't flourishing in the United States as well.

In closing, let's turn to tourism.  It is difficult to find a destination that offers as much as Cuba, and our clients are ALWAYS pleasantly surprised and many times return for a second trip.  The hotels are amazing, check out MeliĆ” Habana, our host hotel, to see what I mean.  Meeting facilities and all other aspects of the hotel are premium class and the MeliĆ”, one of the largest hotel conglomerates in the world, is accustomed to welcoming meetings and conferences on a regular basis.  Cuba is also a great option for incentive planning.  Win a trip to Cuba for meeting my sales goals?  Sign me up!

The city also has an array of amazing, privately owned restaurants, inspiring tours, architectural wonders, incomparable nature and SO much more!  Let's go to Cuba! Our tour packages are commissionable, and our team will provide all the services to your clients that will ensure their trip will be a life-changing experience.

Mya Reyes is the president of Going Places International, has traveled to Cuba since 2000 and also plans tours for destinations around the world.  Contact her at


A testimonial from Patricia A. Stewart:

   I found Cuba to be an awesome country. It's not at all what I expected. Actually, I had no idea what to expect but I assure you that there is a surprise around every corner. Hidden inside some of the most thread bear buildings were some of the most eloquent restaurants that I've ever been. Old 1950s American cars are proudly driven through immaculate neighborhoods. Uniformed children march in pairs to school in the morning. In the evening young adults gather on the ocean front wall quietly fraternizing with each other, fishing, or staring at their cell phones. Will I return? The answer is a resounding yes!

Meet Brilliantly