Saturday, August 1, 2009

Orbitz Cuba-Travel Campaign Hits 70K Signers

The Orbitz petition drive to pressure the Obama administration to overturn the roughly 50-year-old U.S. ban on travel by Americans to Cuba recorded its 70,000th signer July 30, less than three months after the campaign began.

Orbitz Worldwide spokesman Brian Hoyt said the goal of is to attract 100,000 signers.

Hoyt said Orbitz would then present the petitions to elected officials in Washington, D.C. in the fall.

I'm happy to see that supporters of the drive include Cuban-American organizations, as well as the National Tour Association, the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

I am disappointed to see that a broader swath of travel companies and associations hasn't followed Orbitz's laudable lead and stepped forward on this issue of such import to the rights of Americans and to the travel industry.

Travelocity, Priceline and Expedia where are you on this?

American Express, Carnival Corp., Hertz, ASTA and NBTA why are you sitting on the sidelines?

It is time to get behind this effort and to display some guts.


Roseanne Landay said...

I would like to see more progress in this area too, but we should keep in mind that some travel companies are working through their national organizations such as USTOA to influence the Federal government's trade and travel ban on Cuba. I support Orbitz's petition efforts but at the same time find the approach more P.R.-oriented on Orbitz's behalf than an altruistic effort to effect policy change.

Dennis Schaal said...

Roseanne: That's a very good point that some travel companies are working through their trade associations to push an opening for travel to Cuba. It is interesting that although Orbitz is a member of ITSA, the Interactive Travel Services Assocation, that organization hasn't taken a position, to my knowledge. Some associations and companies don't want to appear controversial but for an issue like this, which is a no-brainer for companies trying to inspire people to dream and travel, it is a shame that there isn't more public support.
I agree that Orbitz sort of watered down its campaign a bit by launching a travel promotion in conjunction with the effort. But, still I applaud the effort because it took some guts.