Cuban Tour Operators See Spike In Interest Despite Latest Travel Ban
By DeAnna Taylor
Earlier this month, the Trump administration rolled out new restrictions on travel to Cuba. The latest restrictions now prevent American tourists from traveling by cruise ship, among other modes of transportation, to get to the island.
This sudden announcement caused many travelers to seek refunds for booked trips or to find alternate destinations via their cruise carrier.
Despite this, some land tour operators are seeing a rise in interest to travel to Cuba.
“We’ve had dozens of small and large groups that were planning on visiting by cruise ship reach out,” Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel said. “And we’ve rebooked them with compliant land programs that allow them to visit and see Cuba now, often the original draw that had them sign up for the cruise.”
While open tourism is still illegal for American travelers in Cuba, there are still several exceptions by which you can legally head to the country. The most common, and easiest to travel under, is the “support for the Cuban people” exception.
Under this exception, American travelers will need to engage in meaningful interactions with the Cuban people. This is something that most tourists do anyway.
Apple Vacations, another travel agency that plans travel to Cuba, has plans to curate more tours that are designed to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities.
“There is still high demand for Cuba,” John Tarkowski, President of Apple Vacations said in a statement. “Apple Vacations will continue to offer opportunities for American travelers to interact with Cuban culture in compliance with [Office of Foreign Assets Control] regulations.”
Before booking with a tour company, be sure to do your due diligence in making sure that they are fully complying with the exceptions.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.