Dear American Travellers, A few weeks ago we wrote a blog post alerting you to new Cuba travel restrictions Americans would likely face in the future. Well, the US Office of Public Affairs just released an official statement clarifying the restrictions will begin taking effect June 5, 2019.
The good news: all of Out Adventures’ upcoming gay Cuba tours are unaffected! But that’s not say travel to Cuba hasn’t gotten trickier. Read on for the most important takeaways from the announcement.
Why is the U.S. Government imposing new Cuba travel restrictions?
On April 17th, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced new economic pressures on Cuba in an attempt to stop the country from aiding the oppressive Venezuelan government. In the official statement released on June 4th, Bolton’s announcement was echoed.
In the government’s own words: “Today, the United States took strong action to prevent U.S. travel to Cuba from enriching the Cuban military, security, and intelligence services by announcing new restrictions on authorized travel and vessels to the island.”
What are the major changes affecting American travel to Cuba?
Previously, American travellers were able to legally visit Cuba under specific licensed categories. The two most common recreational licensed categories were ‘People-to-People’ and ‘Support for the Cuban People’. Unfortunately, the official Fact Sheet provided by the US Government states People-to-People tours have been eliminated. Thankfully, Support for the Cuban People – the license Out Adventures’ tours run under – is not changing.
In addition to removing People-to-People licences, the US is preventing any recreational vessel from visiting Cuba. This includes cruises and yachts.
I’ve already booked travel to Cuba. What do I do now?
If you booked a group departure to Cuba with Out Adventures, you are completely unaffected by the new restrictions. Our tours run under the aforementioned Support for the Cuban People licence which is not changing.
If you purchased a recreational Cuban cruise or a tour with another operator under the People-to-People licence BEFORE June 5th, 2019, you are also unaffected by the change. All tours and services purchased before June 5th will be honoured. Note: So long as you completed a single travel-transaction before June 5th (for example, you booked a hotel or flight), you can finish booking the rest of your tour.
I’m interested in travelling to Cuba on a gay tour with Out Adventures. Can I still go?
Yes. Out Adventures offers two gay Cuba tours: Cultural Cuba and Cuba New Year Fiesta. As mentioned, both of our tours run under the Support for the Cuban People licence which is not affected by the new Cuba travel restrictions.
Will commercial flights to Cuba be affected?
No. Not directly, anyway.
While commercial flights are not affected by the restrictions, the majority of the travel media is only reporting People-to-People and cruise travel is prohibited. The media has not yet reiterating that Support for the Cuban People is still allowed. Unfortunately we expect that the headlines will impact people’s understanding of the situation. Consequently airlines MAY reduce or eliminate flights to Cuba. That said, we haven’t heard of any such service reductions yet.
As outlined in our April blog post, American travel restrictions to Cuba were expected. If anything, the only surprise is the restrictions weren’t harsher.
All of Out Adventures’ gay Cuba tours are still legal and you’re welcome to make a new booking.
If you have any questions about the new Cuba travel restrictions, never hesitate to contact our gay travel experts by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (CAN/US: 1-866-360-1152. International: +1-416-531-8795).
Header photo by Alexander Kunze and courtesy of unsplash.com.
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