Now is the time to go to Cuba. At least, that is what everyone seems to be thinking. When telling my friends and colleagues that I was going to the Caribbean island, almost every one of them had either plans to go themselves, someone in their immediate circle did, or they had already gone.

Go to Cuba before the tourist flood.

Everyone is thinking it. Go to Cuba before… Before it changes and becomes Americanised. Cruise ship central. Before it stops being authentic. That seems to be what is in everyone’s mind. The Dutch national geographic even put it on their cover: “Welcome to Cuba. Can the Cuban charm withstand mass tourism?”

The expected tourist flood of 3 million Americans will bring in a lot of money for the Cuban economy. The question is for whom? And what will this do to the local way of life?

Just look at Barcelona. I was there years ago and there were signs in the busy touristic streets telling the tourist to basically shut up and remember that other people were living there. Or even closer to home (in my case) Amsterdam, where you annoyingly trip over tourists while trying to get to work.

How to ensure tourism improves the Cuban lifestyle?

The big question is, how to make sure that the stream of tourist will actually improve the lives of the Cubans? And not only improvements for the Cubans themselves, but also the island and the sea reserve around it.

I will explore this in the blog posts to come as I visit the island.

I would love to know you’re thoughts, so join the discussion on social media.

The Mangrove Concept