Although Americans cannot yet travel to Cuba, this is could happen soon. On Friday, a new set of government regulations are supposed to take effect whereby travel, as well as trade restrictions that have been locked in place for 54 years could be drastically loosened.
The rules come after last month’s announcement from President Obama that diplomatic relations with the communist island may be reestablished. However, the embargo can only be completely lifted by Congress although the administration will ultimately enforce or turn a blind eye to the ban on travel to Cuba.
As imagined, this would open tremendous opportunities for hospitality and travel companies eager to open business in Cuba. In fact, several major airlines, hotels, and cruise lines have already expressed interest in providing flights to include Delta, JetBlue, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, and Carnival.
Cuba has always been a popular place for Americans but since the 1960s, it has been off-limits. However, being so close to the US and with perfect weather, it would quickly become a hot spot for vacationers.
Currently, only 12 categories of people can go to Cuba to visit to include close relatives, government officials on business, academics, journalists, people involved with accredited cultural educational programs, and those traveling for religious or humanitarian reasons. If the ban for travel to Cuba is lifted, the groups allowed to go would be the same but a license to travel would no longer be required.
Keep in mind that everyone else would still be banned but because there is no need to apply for a license, verifying if someone fits into one of those groups would become impossible. Because of this, many people believe that travel to Cuba would open up to just about everyone.
Up to this point, licenses have been issued by the government to tour operators who then work with people to secure a visa. The price to visit Cuba for one week while on an education trip runs between $3,000 and $8,000. Whether the cost would increase or decrease if the ban is severely loosened remains to be seen.