Cuba travel veteran resigns

Tom Popper founded U.S. travel company insightCuba two decades ago

Tom PopperCUBA STANDARD —A high-profile entrepreneur in the Cuba travel industry in the United States resigned from the company he founded.

Two decades after founding insightCuba, Tom Popper resigned as president of his company and as CEO of Friendly Planet Travel, the company that took over insightCuba two years ago.

Rye, NY-based insightCuba sent nearly 3,000 travelers to the island in 2019, through small-group tours and custom-made travel.

“Looking back at my two decades working with and in Cuba, it’s easy to say that it has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life,” Popper said in an e-mail. “No doubt, it has been full of seemingly insurmountable challenges politically, economically, and everything in between.”

“As for insightCuba, it remains in excellent care by its new owners at Friendly Planet,” Popper said about the Philadelphia-based company that now owns the brand. Since the merger in September 2019, the two companies continued to operate independently, with Goldman heading Friendly Planet Travel from Pennsylvania, and insightCuba under Popper’s continued leadership.

Friendly Planet Travel offers small-group cultural tours to Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East, and was among the first tour operators to offer travel to Cuba.

Popper also played a role as an organizer and spokesman of an industry trying to navigate challenging political obstacles.

He said that he is “exploring exciting new business ideas as well as leadership opportunities in and outside of the travel industry”.

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