Cuba has become the centre of attraction for the US as air and sea travel companies announce plans to begin trade with the island in the coming weeks.

Cuba shore line

Cuba is a major focus for US air and sea travel after five decades of embargo  on travel between the two counties Image by Mary Newcombe / CC BY 2.0

With JetBlue Airlines unveiling its intention to be the first major US flight company to begin direct flights to the Caribbean island since the easing of travel restrictions late last year, the US government has now given the green light for the resumption of select ferry services – thus ending a five decade embargo from the US side.

JetBlue says the will begin operating a weekly charter between New York and Havana from 3 July .

The Los Angeles Times also reports that in addition to flying out of JFK Airport, the airline will launch a further five additional routes from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa to the island.

On the shipping front, the Sun Sentinel reports that four companies –Baja Ferries of Miami, Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale, Airline Brokers Co. of Miami and United Caribbean Lines Florida of Greater Orlando – were given permission to start up services by the US Treasury Departments. These companies will now need similar approval from the Cuban side to begin offering travel services.

The ferry companies believe that with the enormous surge in demand for travel between the two countries, they will be able to offer cheaper fares than charter flights. They also feel that with luggage costing extra on most flights, the ferry services will be cheaper and more practical for many passengers.

One of the companies plans to offer an overnight service to Cuba possibly as often as three times each week, according to Travel Pulse.