Reversing Cuba Policy Could Cost US Travel $712 Million

Travel Pulse

Just as you would probably guess, leaving Cuba would hurt the travel industry.

Reuters reports that the impact would be remarkable, costing the sector an estimated $712 million if President Donald Trump rolls back Obama-era policies that eased travel restrictions to the country.

The report cites a study released Thursday from Washington lobby group Engage Cuba. It contends that if Trump indeed restricts travel to Cuba anew, it would cost airlines currently servicing the area $512 million.

It also looked at the cruise lines heading to Cuba and estimated they would lose about $200 million annually.

What’s more, Engage Cuba considered how this policy might affect those regions that briefly entertain tourists before their Cuban sojourn. Reuters explains: “Eliminating cruises to Cuba could also cost South Florida's economy an additional $212.8 million, given what passengers spend in port communities, Cuba Engage said.”

A bipartisan group of United States senators proposed legislation to roll back the clock to before President Barack Obama instituted his administration’s policy on Cuban travel—one that allows travelers to enter Cuba as long as they meet one of 12 criteria.

Then, another major turn as reports suggested President Trump was expected to overhaul the previous administration’s lenient policy on travel to the communist country.

Reminding that Trump had made this promise on the campaign trail, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) explains, via the National Journal: “I'm 1,000 percent sure the president is going to deliver on his commitment. I have no doubt that you're going to see in short order a different policy.”

A year after Cuba’s doors were opened, the market continues to correct itself and find its way.

While the country has indeed witnessed a boom in tourism—Reuters reports American visits are up 74 percent—things may be decelerating.

Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, tells TravelPulse’s Lisa Iannucci in May: “While Cuba is still an intriguing and fascinating destination, we’ve seen interest slow down a bit.”