U.S. Imposes Heavy Restrictions on Travel to Cuba

by Richard D'Ambrosio
U.S. Imposes Heavy Restrictions on Travel to Cuba

Photo: Shutterstock.com

The Trump administration announced new rules on travel and trade to Cuba Wednesday, impacting individual travel and banning patronage of some hotels and other tourism venues frequented by Americans.

The rules, which will go into effect Thursday, Nov. 9, eliminate the increasingly popular individual “people-to-people” educational travel category. Now, travelers will need to be a part of a group licensed by the Treasury Department, like they were prior to the Obama Administration’s freeing up Cuba travel two years ago.

Additionally, U.S. travelers are prohibited from staying at dozens of Cuban hotels, determined by the State Department to be connected to government security services. Some of the properties included under the ban include the Paradisus Río de Oro Resort & Spa, the Royalton Cayo Santa María, the Meliá Cayo Santa María and the Iberostar Ensenachos.

Americans also will be barred from patronizing a wide array of restaurants, stores and other enterprises determined to be owned wholly or in part by the Cuban military and security services. The Trump Administration is hoping U.S. travelers instead will stay with private citizens and eat in private restaurants.

Travelers returning from Cuba to U.S. ports and airports will be required to maintain proof of their activities in Cuba.

Travelers who had already purchased “at least one travel-related transaction” (e.g. a flight or lodging) prior to June 16, 2017, will be grandfathered in and can proceed with their trip.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), which has lobbied heavily for completely lifting restrictions on travel to Cuba, is concerned with the impact of the changes, especially since an estimated 300,000 Americans travel to Cuba  each year.

“We believe in the fundamental principle of travel freedom, and that our government should not be in the business of telling Americans where to travel or not to travel,” said Eben Peck, ASTA executive vice president, advocacy. “The American people are the best ambassadors of U.S. values abroad, and should be allowed to freely promulgate those values and 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 helping our members and their clients comply with the rules announced today, we will continue to advocate toward Cuba travel freedom and look forward to the day it becomes reality.
“While these regulations move us in the opposite direction of the full opening of the Cuba market ASTA has long pushed for, they did incorporate several items we did push for and, perhaps most importantly, the rules of the road are now set. We are confident that our cruise and tour partners and other travel industry stakeholders will adjust quickly to the new rules with an eye toward keeping Cuba as viable a destination for U.S. travelers (and travel agents) as possible. ASTA will continue to monitor implementation and respond to member queries as the situation unfolds.”

Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Travel Tricks Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

1. Have a System for TSA Security.

2. Prepare Electronics for Continuous Work.

3. Pack for Success.

4. Plane Etiquette.

5. The Best Credit Cards for Travel.

Source: Forbes


How Travel Agents Can Stay Relevant When the World Thinks They're Not

Sponsored by Travel Planners International

Stop trying to change consumers' perceptions of what a travel agent is or does. Instead, focus on changing the perspective of who you are.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Where to Stay In South Africa
Where to Stay In South Africa

A look at four different hotels, providing a sampling of the diversity of the country, its people, cultures, landscapes and its accommodations.

Six Ways to Chill in the Warmth of Northern Cuba
Six Ways to Chill in the Warmth of Northern Cuba

Many of the myths about Cuba — the food, the tourism infrastructure, the attitude of locals toward tourism, and even the availability of WiFi — have been turned on their head over the last few years.

Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Officially Sets Reopening Date
Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Officially Sets Reopening Date

Dorado Beach joins two other high-end properties, the El San Juan Hotel and St. Regis Bahia Beach, welcoming guests again in October.

Destination Wedding Couples Are Happier
Destination Wedding Couples Are Happier

New research says couples who have a destination wedding are more satisfied with their happy day than those who have a close-to-home wedding.

Las Vegas’ Mandarin Oriental to Be Reflagged a Waldorf Astoria
Las Vegas’ Mandarin Oriental to Be Reflagged a Waldorf Astoria

Upgrades at the rebranded Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas will include new dining concepts, views of The Strip from the hotel’s exclusive 23rd-floor bar, helicopter rides, and spa retreats.

Travel Still Largely Unaffected in Hawaii After Kilauea Volcano Erupts Again
Travel Still Largely Unaffected in Hawaii After Kilauea Volcano Erupts Again

Thursday’s eruption sent smoke and ash some 30,000 feet in the air on the Big Island.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line