Travel to Cuba takes off

This week, we’ve seen a number of exciting updates regarding U.S. travel to Cuba. American companies are continuing to expand their travel services to the island, and a bill to end travel restrictions on Cuba was introduced in the U.S. Senate. With the White House policy review underway, we’re hopeful that this growing momentum for expanding travel will help convince the White House to continue policies that make it easier for Americans to visit Cuba.


55 SENATORS DROP BIPARTISAN BILL TO LIFT THE TRAVEL BAN

On Thursday, Senators Flake and Leahy led a group of 55 Senators in reintroducing the bipartisan Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act, legislation that would eliminate current restrictions on traveling to Cuba for tourist purposes. While travel restrictions to our Island neighbor have been eased, Cuba remains the only country in the world to which the U.S. government prohibits Americans from traveling as a tourist. Over half the U.S. Senate is trying to change that. 
 
Additionally, ahead of the Trump Administration's expected release of its U.S.-Cuba policy review, which will determine whether or not to continue policies that made it easier to travel to Cuba, this legislation would completely and permanently deregulate U.S. travel to
Cuba.

Eighty-one percent of Americans support expanding travel to Cuba, including 71% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats. The number of U.S. travelers to Cuba has skyrocketed as a result of U.S. regulatory changes that have eased travel restrictions. In 2016, 614,433 U.S. citizens and Cuban-Americans visited the island, a 34% increase from the year before. 

OVER 40 TRAVEL COMPANIES URGE PRESIDENT TRUMP TO EXPAND TRAVEL TO CUBA

On Wednesday, over 40 leading U.S. tour companies and associations urged President Trump to continue expanded travel to Cuba. The travel groups, including the American Society of Travel Agents and the U.S. Tour Operators Association, highlighted how relaxed U.S. travel regulations have created U.S. jobs and fueled economic growth in Cuba’s burgeoning private sector. 

"The increase in American visitors to Cuba has had a significant impact on our businesses by increasing our revenue and allowing us to hire more American employees," the group of travel providers wrote to President Trump.”

TRAVELERS CAN NOW BOOK CUBA HOTELS THROUGH EXPEDIA

This week, travel giant Expedia announced that consumers around the world, including in the U.S., will be able to book Cuban hotels through its online services. The company cited the growing volume of U.S. travelers to Cuba as a driver of its decision to become one of the first American travel companies to offer Cuban hotel options. The Cuban hotel market will be available through all of Expedia’s services, including Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and CheapTickets. 

CARNIVAL'S HOLLAND AMERICA CRUISE LINE WILL SAIL TO CUBA

Holland America, based in Seattle, announced it has received approval to sail to Havana and Cienfuegos. The Carnival brand will offer cruises to Cuba beginning December 2017 and will become the second U.S. cruise line to sail from Port Everglades.