Today’s special guest blogger, IMAGES Director of Business Development and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles + Hotels” expert Hank Koppelman, gives his $.02 on how lifting the travel ban to Cuba will effect travel in the U.S. Thanks, Hank!
Again, the U.S. Congress is struggling with the issue of lifting the decades old ban on U.S. citizen travel to Cuba. The recent hearing by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Freedom to Travel Cuba Act (H.R. 874) has marked the first time since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 that the issue has been elevated to this level.
The travel industry has begun to endorse the lifting of the ban, led by Orbitz Worldwide, who has gathered over 100,000 signatures on a petition supporting their Open Cuba Campaign. Additional support has come from major national travel-oriented associations, including the National Foreign Trade Council, National Tour Association, U.S. Tour Operators Association, Adventure Travel Trade Association and the Interactive Travel Services Association.
Lifting the ban makes both economic and common sense, based on the desire of American leisure and business travelers to have free and open access to all destinations and business markets. The re-building of the tourism infrastructure in Cuba will provide much needed employment, generate positive cash flow in the Cuban economy and potentially help to break down the barriers between the Cuban and United States governments.
As the Cuban population who fled decades ago continues to age, now is the time to allow these Cuban-born families to return to their homeland and re-establish connections with their families and friends.
An Open Travel Policy for the United States makes perfect sense and now is the perfect time to make this dream happen!