Cuba lifts internal travel restrictions; Is USA Hotel + Tourism Ready?
Today in Cuba the lines formed as it’s the first day that ordinary Cubans are allowed to travel with merely a Cuban passport. This is a radical change in the way Cubans interact with the outside world. Will the Obama administration soon follow with the lifting of our own travel restrictions? And is the tourism industry prepared?
The New York Times notes:
Yoani Sánchez, a prominent blogger and activist who says she has been denied an exit visa by the Cuban government at least 19 times in the past, said on Monday that she was one of the first in line at the immigration office and submitted paperwork for a new passport without any problems.
There are legal routes into this island nation however the Us Government still restricts Americans from traveling to Cuba and posted on its travel site the following description/ restrictions notice:
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cuba is an authoritarian state which controls most aspects of Cuban life through the Communist Party, its affiliated mass organizations, and the state security apparatus. The Communist Party is constitutionally recognized as Cuba’s only legal political party and the Ministry of Interior is the principal organ of state security and control. The Cuban government routinely employs repressive methods against internal dissent and monitors and responds to perceived threats to its authority. These methods include intense physical and electronic surveillance, and in some cases may involve detention and interrogation of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. Travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and permanent residents is restricted by U.S. law and regulations, and travelers generally must obtain a license or qualify for an existing license from the Department of Treasury. Such licenses restrict the activities and transactions in which U.S. citizens and residents may engage while in Cuba. Licensed U.S. travelers visiting Cuba should be aware that any on-island activities could be subject to surveillance, and their contacts with Cuban citizens monitored closely. The United States Government, which does not maintain full diplomatic relations with Cuba, is represented by the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana, which provides a range of consular and other services. U.S. diplomats, however, are not allowed to travel freely outside the capital and may be prevented from providing assistance to U.S. citizens outside Havana.
Is Miami ready for legal Cuban tourists? Right now your average Cuban is too poor to travel abroad but with the relaxing of these and other rules meant to create some private wealth there may be more Cubans traveling abroad than ever. It’s a ripe market.