Informacion economica sobre Cuba

MidJersey Chamber of Commerce offers eight-day, $4,000 trip to Cuba

Emily Brill/Times of Trenton By Emily Brill/Times of Trenton

updated March 24, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Known for sponsoring corporate events all over Central Jersey, the

MidJersey Chamber of Commerce will offer a major change of scenery this

September when it sponsors a trip to Havana, Cuba.

The $4,000 trip will take attendees to a rum factory, Ernest Hemingway's

farm and a cabaret show at the original Tropicana Club during an

eight-day "educational and cultural tour" of Cuba.

The chamber secured a license to fly to Cuba from its parent

organization, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, chamber

president Robert Prunetti said. Americans are not permitted to fly

directly to Cuba under current travel restrictions.

"We're saying it's a people-to-people mission," chamber special projects

coordinator Alyssa Gennello said. "The stops include tours of the Plaza

de la Revolucion, rum factories, tobacco farms. It's kind of taking this

area down to Cuba to see the state that Cuba is in, and really it's just

a cultural, educational experience."

The trip, which is open to non-members, marks the chamber's first foray

into long-distance travel, Prunetti said. Using the ACCE's license,

other chambers have run trips to Cuba in the past, he said.

"This trip has been very, very successful around the country, so we hope

to have a similar degree of success here," Prunetti said. "It's a great

way to open up an exchange between Cuba and our community."

The exchange must remain purely "cultural and educational," though —

travelers are not allowed to engage in business transactions with Cuban

companies due to trade restrictions, Prunetti said.

Prunetti said he is thrilled about the trip because Cuba fascinates him.

"It's tremendously exciting. If you know or read anything about Cuba,

it's kind of an intoxicating country," Prunetti said. "Going back to the

'50s with the casinos, it was the place to go not just for American

tourists but for everyone."

He said he is most excited to visit the places that struck his fancy in

Hemingway novels — among them, rum factories, the cigar factories and

the streets of Havana.

"I'm looking forward to all of that, picturing it the way Hemingway

did," Prunetti said. "It's kind of a romantic fantasy."

The trip should prove eye-opening as well, he said.

"There are a tremendous amount of changes going on in Cuba right now

because of their economy," Prunetti said. "This is an opportunity for

our community to learn what's going on."

The chamber hopes to secure at least 30 travelers for the trip, which

has no official minimum or maximum number of participants, Gennello said.

It will host information sessions over the next few months. Information

and a full itinerary are available online at

Contact Emily Brill at or (609) 989-5731.

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