President Obama’s announcement to ease travel restrictions for Americans going to Cuba has sparked a wave of interest from businesses and U.S. tourists, but getting there may not be that easy. CCTV’s Nitza Soledad Perez reported this story from Miami.
Traveling to Cuba is still illegal, for nowPresident Obama's announcement to ease travel restrictions for Americans going to Cuba has sparked a wave of interest from businesses and U.S. tourists, but getting there may not be that easy. CCTV's Nitza Soledad Perez reported this story from Miami.
Cuba, long the forbidden destination for U.S. citizens, is about to become the new hot travel spot. But tourism travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is still illegal and changes won’t take effect until the new regulations are issued by the Treasury Department.
“I’ve been getting calls from friends: ‘I can go now!’ No you can’t. You have to wait,” Elena Freyre, president of Foundation for the Normalization of Relations between the U.S. and Cuba and a travel consultant, said.
Prior to President Obama’s announcement, American travelers needed a permit from the Treasury Department and a Cuban visa. Under the new rules, U.S. citizens will be able to make the trip, if their travel fits into one of a dozen categories, including family visits, humanitarian work, and journalism. It will be based on the honor system and not strictly enforced.
“You don’t need any paper issued by the Department of the Treasury, unless somehow they change what they’ve announced. You just need to sign an affidavit at the airport or at the travel office and that will be all you are required to do to travel to Cuba,” President of Island Travel and Tours Bill Hauf said.
The Havana Consulting Group reported more than half a million Americans visited Cuba last year, and now travel agencies and charter operators are hoping to capitalize on the growing demand.
“We hope it’s going to increase our business. We are looking into other routes that we want to establish throughout the United States,” Hauf said.
Gary Hufbauer of Peterson Institute discusses Cuban economy
CCTV America interviewed Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics about the future of Cuba’s economy.