Decades after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the small island off the coast of Florida has been making huge efforts to attract American visitors.
Americans traveling to Cuba during 2016 reached 614,433, which is a 34 percent increase from 2015.
But now, big changes could be on the way today for those who want to travel to Cuba per a draft presidential policy from Donald Trump. Today’s pending draft announcement from President Trump in Miami will not include regulations for the presidential policy directive. Those are expected in 90 days or less.
The major change in Trump’s Cuba policy draft is that Americans going to Cuba for educational efforts can no longer go by themselves. They will have to travel as groups with a company representative.
Also, the draft includes instructions that travelers must keep detailed records of all the money they spend in Cuba or all of the money they make. The records have to be kept for five years.
U.S. travel companies have been making great efforts and plans for increasing the number of visitors to Cuba. But with today’s announcement, many of these budding companies are anxious.
“Additional prohibitions and oversight on travel will only confuse Americans and dissuade them from visiting Cuba, causing significant economic hardship to Cuban entrepreneurs and average Cuban families, as well as Americans working in the hospitality sector,” said Collin Laverty, president of Cuban Educational Travel.
President Trump has made it clear his administration wants decrease the amount of money that goes to the Cuban military but wants Cuban citizens to flourish.
“As an all-inclusive product, including all the tours, the tour guides and arrangements on shore … we are perfectly positioned to be in full compliance with any regulations covering how our guests use the Cuban product,” said Victory President and Chief Executive Bruce Nierenberg. Victory is a cruise line with passages to Cuba from Miami. Nierenberg says this new directive could a win.
“While there has been a significant anxiety about this announcement from the administration and its potential impact on travel and tourism to Cuba, the actual adjustments being called for are constructive ways to get everyone’s attention and bring Cuba and the U.S. closer together in the long term,” Nierenberg adds.