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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 989-5731.