TPA to Cuba

Community Education

Tampa has a strong historical connection to Cuba – from cigar production to providing refuge for José Martí during the revolution against Spain. The Tampa Bay region is home to the country’s third largest Cuban-American population with historical ties that go back more than a century. Tampa International Airport began offering Cuba charter service in 2011 with two flights a week. Since then, air carriers at TPA have served nearly 270,000 passengers and fly into four Cuban cities with an average of seven flights a week. In March of 2016, TPA and the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority launched an online petition urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve the flight routes to Cuba requested by TPA’s partner airlines. TPA hosted a week-long event promoting the TPA to Cuba initiative in hopes of getting signatures from the community.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

The goal of the TPA to Cuba petition was to build community support for travel to Cuba and highlight Tampa International Airport's unique capabilities for servicing this direct commercial flight.

2. Production: 

To promote the launch of the online petition, Tampa International Airport planned a TPA to Cuba week. From March 7-11, 2016 live entertainment, Cuban sandwiches and chatter of direct flights could be found throughout the Main Terminal. Computers and tablets were stationed in the airport for travelers to quickly sign the petition before catching their flights. Educational brochures and promotional buttons were handed out to guests as they stood in line waiting to sign the petition. This petition, along with the events, were promoted through TPA's social media outlets and the local papers. The collateral used for this initiative was created by TPA's in-house design studio. This included “signature” vintage TPA to Cuba posters, banners, electronic screens and buttons.

3. Evaluation: 

On July 7, 2016 the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its preliminary decision to award Tampa International Airport daily nonstop service to Havana aboard Southwest Airlines. Southwest’s application for Tampa-Havana flights were among dozens filed by airlines to fill only 20 available slots for the Havana service. The Tampa Bay community rallied behind TPA by filing dozens of letters in support of flights from Tampa as part of the U.S. DOT’s proceedings and by signing the petition. Nearly 6,000 people signed the online petition supporting the TPA to Cuba flights.

4. Budget: 

Our budget was approximately $17,000.