President Donald Trump is set to announce changes to Cuba travel policy today at a Miami event, multiple media outlets are reporting. Ahead of the announcement, Carnival Corporation has stated that the policy changes will allow the company’s ships to continue sailing to Cuba.
“We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago,” Carnival Corp. said in a written release. “Our experience in Cuba this past year has been extremely positive. We look forward to the new cruises being planned for Cuba with Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line. We also have requested approval for our other brands to travel to Cuba.”
Carnival Corp. first began offering cruises to Cuba onboard its social impact Fathom brand in May of last year. While that brand has since ceased sailing, the company still offers cruises to the country aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, as well as Holland America Line’s Veendam starting this December.
Since the Obama administration loosened travel restrictions to Cuba, a number of other cruise lines have also received approval to sail there, including Royal Caribbean, Azamara Club Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
ABC News reports that President Trump is expected to announce a tightening of travel restrictions to Cuba at an event in Miami later today, reversing some of the changes introduced during the Obama administration.
According to the Miami Herald, many of the changes are aimed at curtailing cash to the Cuban government, which could potentially prevent Americans from spending money in state-run hotels or restaurants tied to the military. At the same time, some of the changes introduced, such as the reopening of embassies in Washington, DC, and Havana, will remain.
According to TIME magazine, the changes could also again require U.S. travelers to visit the island as part of tour groups run by American companies.
Rumors of new Trump administration policies toward Cuba have been circulating for some time, and have drawn criticism from travel agents and travel industry organizations. At its inaugural Capitol Summit, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) lobbied in favor of repealing all travel restrictions to the island with the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. Additionally, Caribbean specialists we spoke with earlier this month said that rolling back the progress that had been made in travel to the country would be devastating for tourism.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates on this developing story.