Legal travel to Cuba was long a dream of American travelers, who were prohibited from visiting the island since travel restrictions were impossed in 1963. Policy changes in 1999 opened the door to legal travel to Cuba for Americans through people-to-people exchange programs, with the goal of enhancing cross-cultural relations between Americans and Cubans.
In 2000, Insight Cuba received its specific license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and pioneered some of the first Americans to legally travel to Cuba through its people-to-people programs.
When new travel restrictions were enforced in 2003, banning virtually all Americans once again from visiting Cuba, we remained hopeful that travel to the island would eventually resume. On January 28, 2011, and after an eight year hiatus, people-to-people travel was restored, meaning any American could once again travel to Cuba legally with Insight Cuba.
Insight Cuba guests were the first to return in 2011 on our Inaugural Trips– a feat that attracted an unprecedented whirlwind of press from CNN, NBC, Reuters, Associated Press, and more than 200 other media outlets. For details, listen to an interview with Arthur Frommer and Insight Cuba’s President, Tom Popper, or watch Peter Greenberg’s televised report on his trip with Insight Cuba.
Since our humble beginnings, we’ve sent over 10,000 travelers to Cuba, and currently offer six unique itineraries with over 100 regularly scheduled departures throughout the year. We’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to creating unique access to people and places the average tourist rarely sees.
Forty years after the Cuban Revolution, the Clinton administration announces measures to increase people-to-people exchanges between Americans and Cubans. Insight Cuba, a division of Cross-Cultural Solutions, sends in its first license application to the U.S. Department of the Treasury's, Office of Foreign Assets Control, wanting to help Americans travel to Cuba legally and to build close relationships with the Cuban people.
Insight Cuba is granted a two-year specific license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's, Office of Foreign Assets Control, authorizing legal, licensed people-to-people travel to Cuba. Insight Cuba is the first organization to take Americans on people-to-people Cuba tours.
Inspired by Cuba’s infectious rhythm and vibrant art scene, Insight Cuba launches a themed Cuban Music program, offering participants the chance to immerse themselves in Cuban music, dance, art and the people behind it all.
Insight Cuba is issued a second, license authorizing legal, licensed people-to-people travel to Cuba. Shortly after, a partnership between JazzTimes magazine and Insight Cuba brings hundreds of Americans to the Havana International Jazz Festival. The pulsating, Latin experience draws big names in global jazz. Past performers include Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, Max Roach and Chucho Valdés.
Insight Cuba is issued a third license authorizing, licensed people-to-people travel to Cuba. By year's end, Insight Cuba is featured in over 120 nationwide news outlets, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. With established on-island ties and carefully fostered relationships, the organization sent over 3,000 Americans to Cuba since travel restrictions were loosened in 1999. Under the Bush administration, the regulations governing travel to Cuba are tightened, and all people-to-people educational travel programs are suspended at the end of the year. The last groups of Americans traveling to Cuba legally under the people-to-people license return home with Insight Cuba on December 31, 2003.
Insight Cuba receives the Hospitality, Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Award for its efforts in the travel and hospitality industry. Considered the benchmark for the industry, this is the most prestigious travel marketing competition globally.
Insight Cuba continues to strengthen partnerships and friendships in Cuba while travel programs are suspended by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Hope remains steadfast that travel to Cuba will soon resume.
In August, Insight Cuba receives word that the loosening of travel regulations to Cuba is pending. Preparations begin immediately to relaunch Insight Cuba, and resume its Cuba tours in anticipation of the restoration of people-to-people travel by the Obama administration.
On January 28, people-to-people educational travel to Cuba is restored by President Obama (press statement). Insight Cuba submits its license application that very same day. On June 28, Insight Cuba is granted its fourth license authorizing, licensed people-to-people travel to Cuba. On August 11, Insight Cuba is the first organization in eight years to send Americans to Cuba legally under the new people-to-people regulations, and relaunches with six signature Cuba tours.
In April, Insight Cuba sends its 6,000th American to Cuba legally.
On September 28th Insight Cuba receives its 5th people-to-people license to legally send Americans to Cuba.
On June 30, Insight Cuba receives its sixth people-to-people license and launches its new Vintage Cuba tour.
Insight Cuba receives authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer its new tour, Cuba by Land & Sea, which will be part land tour and ocean cruise around Cuba. Details to be released soon.
Insight Cuba receives what it believes to be the first amateur sports license allowing Americans to participate in the Marabana Havana Marathon. Only 156 runners are allowed to go.