Despite policy changes by President Trump in June 2019, it’s still easier for Americans to travel to Cuba than it was under the Obama administration.
Earlier this June, the Trump administration issued some new rules for Cuba travel. The most notable change was the ban on popular large cruises to Cuba originating from Florida. The abrupt about-face caused some in the media to sensationalize headlines, leading would-be travelers to believe traveling to Cuba was again, a thing of the past. “Not so”, says Tom Popper, President of insightCuba. “While the elimination of large ship cruises was a surprise to many, any American can still legally travel to Cuba. And it’s actually easier than it was just a few years ago.”
Can Americans legally travel to Cuba?
Yes. Despite the Trump administration’s June 4 announcement, any American can still legally travel to Cuba.
Many travelers, over the past few years, believed that President Obama actually lifted the U.S. embargo against Cuba and the ensuing travel restrictions, which have been in place since 1963. In reality, the restrictions remained in place under President Obama, however, he took groundbreaking steps to loosen them. While the Trump administration has made some modifications to the travel restrictions in the past two years, they have been modest compared to those made under George W. Bush in 2003, and continue to allow Americans to visit the island, legally.
How is the Trump administration changing rules on Cuba travel?
In addition to restricting large ship cruises originating from the U.S., the other notable change was the consolidation of two of the most popular travel categories “People to People” and “Support for the Cuban People”, the aim of which is to steer more U.S. currency to individual Cubans. The fact remains Americans can travel to Cuba legally in much the same way they had in the past.
What is the “Support for the Cuban People” category?
“Support for the Cuban people” is one of 12 permissible categories by which Americans can travel to Cuba. It’s actually, the broadest category and allows any American to legally travel to Cuba. It requires a full schedule of activities that result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba, a trend in travel that has already been growing for the past few years.
InsightCuba has and continues to provide tours and experiences that are in compliance with the regulations. Not only are our guests trips legal, but the daily experiences are exceptional and transformative, and the best way to experience Cuba’s vibrant culture and people. Experiences include visits with inspiring community organizations; meetings with artists, musicians, aspiring business people, and university students; and meetings with small business owners who love chatting and learning from our guests.
What’s the outlook for Cuba travel?
There isn’t a better time to visit Cuba. The island is ranked one of the safest countries to travel to, and U.S. visitors always receive a warm welcome. Only 90 miles from the U.S., travelers don’t have to venture far to experience a culturally rich destination. When travelers are asked why they chose to travel to Cuba, the response is always the same- we’re going to Cuba because we can, and because we want to experience Cuba before it changes.
It’s estimated that 1 million travelers were scheduled to travel to Cuba over the next 12 months, Cuba’s second largest market. Demand to visit Cuba has skyrocketed in the past few years. While large ship cruising is no longer an option, for now, many wonderful options remain for Americans to discover this incredible destination.
Do you have questions regarding new travel regulations and our tours? Ask an insightCuba Travel Specialist. Text or call us with all your questions at 1-800-450-CUBA (2822).
Ryan Walker is a solo travel expert and creator of TheGayTripper.com