Before Wednesday’s presidential announcement opening up relations with Cuba, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce was planning a networking trip to the communist island nation. Now, the excursion may take on a world of new meaning.
The state chamber, in partnership with Chamber Explorations, is offering members the chance to travel to Cuba from June 2-8, 2015.
"The ‘Discover Cuba’ trip is designed to create a great travel experience with a networking opportunity that is unlike any other," the chamber said in an email to members on Thursday. The 7-day itinerary includes a trip to a Cuban tobacco farm, cigar factory, Ernest Hemingway’s farm, a tour of Old Havana, and meetings with artists and sports figures.
Chamber officials set their original goal for the trip at 35 travelers. That may grow thanks to Wednesday’s announcement from President Obama to move towards normalizing diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and Cuba.
Agricultural leaders, particularly rice and poultry farmers, said the move could open up new markets for Arkansas growers. Gov. Beebe traveled to Cuba in 2009 to gauge the potential for trade between the two countries should diplomatic relations allow.