ASTA Is 'Disappointed' But Carnival Plans Cuba Expansion

by Richard D’Ambrosio
ASTA Is 'Disappointed' But Carnival Plans Cuba Expansion

The Kempinski Hotel in Havana recently opened, demonstrating the interest in more leisure travel to Cuba.


The American Association of Travel Agents (ASTA) said it is “disappointed” with the Trump Administration’s decision to tighten up travel regulations for individual Americans visiting Cuba, the country’s leading advocate for retail travel professionals said in a statement Friday.

“ASTA is disappointed with the Trump Administration’s announcement that it plans to turn back the clock on expanded travel and trade between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president & CEO. He cited the increase in travel that has benefitted agents and other ASTA members since the Obama administration loosened rules in 2016.

“For our members, much will depend on the details of new Treasury and Commerce Department regulations coming in the next few months, and ASTA plans to fully participate in that process. While challenges remain in terms of Cuba’s readiness for large volumes of American travelers, the past few years have seen a growth in business for U.S. travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, hotel and other travel companies. That progress is now at risk,” Kerby said.

Prior to the announcement, the industry was estimating 400,000 Americans would visit Cuba this year. The Trump Administration's new proposed rules will eliminate “people-to-people” travel, which allows American travelers to book individual trips; U.S. citizens will now have to look to group tours to visit Cuba. Additionally, individuals may have a harder time proving their visit falls under one of 12 authorized categories such as a religious, journalistic or artistic activity.

“ASTA continues to believe that the American people are the best ambassadors of U.S. values abroad, and should be allowed to freely travel to any destination they wish without restriction from their own government. Rather than shutting the door to this market 90 miles off our shores, we call on policymakers to enact legislation to do away with the statutory Cuba travel ban once and for all. While today is a setback, we will continue to advocate toward Cuba travel freedom and look forward to the day it becomes reality,” it said.

Carnival Corporation, meanwhile, said it is “pleased” that the policy changes “will allow our ships to continue to sail to Cuba" and plans to expand its offerings.

"We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago," it said. Its experience in Cuba this past year "has been extremely positive. We look forward to the new cruises being planned for Cuba with Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line. We also have requested approval for our other brands to travel to Cuba. Travel brings people and cultures together, so we are excited about the upcoming cruises to Cuba for our guests.”

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Five Places to Go for Spring Travel

1. Carlsbad, Calif.

2. Aspen, Colo.

3. Kauai, Hawaii.

4. Cabo San Lucas

5. Washington, D.C.

Source: Forbes

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=c0a45578-7841-e811-ba59-782bcb66a2f2

Why Is Watching ‘Jane Peel Potatoes’ More Exciting than What You’ve Got to Say?

Sponsored by Travel Planners International.

Video is here to stay and travel agents who embrace it are reaping the rewards. 

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Southwest Cancels Dozens of Flights as FAA Orders Engine Inspections
Southwest Cancels Dozens of Flights as FAA Orders Engine Inspections

The news comes after the deadly accident aboard one of its flights last week.

Southwest Airlines Steps Up Engine Inspections Following Deadly Accident
Southwest Airlines Steps Up Engine Inspections Following Deadly Accident

This week’s tragic accident puts an end to a nearly decade-long stretch of zero fatalities aboard commercial flights on U.S. carriers.

'60 Minutes' Exposé About Allegiant Stirs Up Agents and Industry Officials
'60 Minutes' Exposé About Allegiant Stirs Up Agents and Industry Officials

Both the airline and the FAA are under scrutiny regarding questions raised of airline safety compliance and enforcement.

What Is the Duty of Travel Agents Regarding Airline Safety Issues?
What Is the Duty of Travel Agents Regarding Airline Safety Issues?

Travel professionals must increasingly take precautions to disclose critical information about air travel to consumers, and then let them make their own decisions.

New Airlines Set to Shake Up International Travel
New Airlines Set to Shake Up International Travel

A new crop of startup carriers is seeking to challenge the status quo in the airline industry, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Agents React to Air Canada’s New Fare Structure
Agents React to Air Canada’s New Fare Structure

With the introduction of five economy fares, the carrier has added to the growing challenge for Canadian agents, that of explaining multiple fare options to consumers.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Luxury Retreats