New Cuba Travel Restrictions by Trump
One of my favorite stamps I’ve collected on my passport is from my travels to Cuba. Today, The Treasury Department OFAC has executed President Trump’s recommendation to now tighten some of the loosened restrictions for travel to Cuba. This has been widely reported today in the LA Times and The Hill. I suggest that you read the amendments by OFAC for yourself HERE
What does this mean for individuals traveling to Cuba?
Tourism to the island is still strictly prohibited, but Trump administration officials have said that smart travelers like me have been taking advantage of the grey area by abusing the people-to-people category and designing their own trips, instead of going with a tour group. So now, under the new rule, People-to-People trips have to be taken with a licensed tour group or sponsoring organization. This will no doubt curb enthusiasm for travel to Cuba but also once again make traveling to Cuba for individuals difficult by empowering tour companies.
But there is a new amendment if you chose to travel under the Support for the Cuban People general license. This still allows individual travelers “renting a room in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eating at privately owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self- employed Cubans (cuentapropistas) are examples of authorized activities; however, in order to meet the requirement of a full-time schedule, a traveler must engage in additional authorized Support for the Cuban People activities.”
If you have followed my previous trip to Cuba or attended one of my talks, you know that I firmly believe booking accommodation on Airbnb and supporting the local economy is the best way to travel in Cuba! So there is still hope that if you have a full-time schedule of “Support for the Cuban People” activities and then travel smart, you can still go individually. Sen Marco Rubio tweeted in June after President Trump announced his plan to increase restrictions, “Individual Americans can travel to Cuba under Support for the Cuban people category but must use privately owned lodging like AirBnB”.
For more info on Travel to Cuba Check out my Cuba Article
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