President Trump Rolls Back Cuba Détente But Keeps Cruise And Air Travel Open

by Daniel McCarthy
President Trump Rolls Back Cuba Détente But Keeps Cruise And Air Travel Open

Jetblue celebrating its Cuba inaugural in Santa Clara on Aug 31, 2016.

President Donald Trump will make the long-expected news official Friday, tightening rules on Americans traveling to Cuba just three years after then-president Obama thawed restrictions in 2014.

Trump will deliver the news at a speech at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami’s Little Havana, one of the largest Cuban communities in the country.

While it was feared that travel restrictions would return to pre-2014 levels, the news isn’t all bad for the industry—according to reports, U.S. airlines and cruise companies now serving Cuba will be able to continue to operate.

Marriott Hotels, the largest hotel company in the United States and a competitor to Trump’s own hotel chain, will reportedly be allowed to continue to operate its new Starwood Havana hotel. American citizens will also be able to continue to carry Cuban rum and cigars home for personal use.

But there will be changes that are expected to limit some of the 400,000 people expected to visit Cuba this year.

The harsher enforcement of travel rules to Cuba targets financial transactions between some U.S. businesses and the Cuban military, which controls a lot of the island nation’s tourism and hotel sector. That means that travel companies without a foothold in Cuba will have a tougher time entering the market.

The new policy also includes a stricter enforcement of the 12 sanctioned reasons for travel to Cuba currently. That will make it more difficult for Americans yet to book to Cuba a trip to do so this year. 

American travelers will now have to increasingly look to group tours to visit Cuba and individuals who want to travel will have a harder time proving their visit falls under one of 12 authorized categories such as a religious, journalistic or artistic activity.

The changes also do not include closing any of the newly opened American embassies across the country.

The new policy will be made official after the Treasury and Commerce Departments finish writing the new regulation, a process that is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.

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