Some good news for travel to Cuba came last Wednesday, June 8. About three weeks after the Biden announced that it was pulling back some of the Trump-era restrictions on travel to Cuba, the government has clarified what those policy changes will consist of. The good news is that People to People travel is back.
The details of the regulatory structure were released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the part of the United States Treasury Department that regulates what money can be spent by Americans in Cuba under the terms of the United States embargo.
The May 16 press release from the Biden administration established that the United States would again allow some fights to airports other than Havana, and would reinstate educational travel, but did not yet reinstate the “People to People” program. Tour operators would have to watch for OFAC to release the memo to Read the rest of this entry »
The United States will ease some of the Trump-era restrictions on Cuba, the Biden Administration, in line with campaign promises, announced on Monday. The U.S. will allow some charter and commercial fights to airports other than Havana and reinstate educational travel but not yet the “people to people” program. Read the rest of this entry »
Southwest Airlines Co. has added additional service to its flight schedule beginning in early June, including more options for California travel; new service for Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean also announced.
“For a gamut of travelers seeking a business opportunity, faraway fun, or family time, these new routes and additional flights put the hospitality and value of Southwest Airlines in front of more of our customers,” said Andrew Watterson, Executive Vice President, and Chief Commercial Officer. “We recently extended our flight schedule to early November, and we’re making available new service sooner for planning early summertime journeys.”
Additional access between the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley grows with new Southwest service between San Jose, Calif. and Eugene, Ore., once-daily beginning June 5, and with additional flights on some existing routes.
Recently commemorating three years of serving the Hawaiian Islands, Southwest is increasing the number of flights within the Aloha State to offer interisland service at more times of day to connect people in the islands with business, family, and fun. New, once-daily service nonstop between Kahului (Maui) and Lihue (Kauai) begins June 5, with additional flights, offered on existing inter-island routes.
The carrier’s authorized travel between the U.S. and Cuba is available to more Southwest customers with a tripling of service from South Florida beginning May 4, roundtrip three times daily on the carrier’s Fort Lauderdale—Havana route. That same week, an additional roundtrip on Saturdays begins May 7 on the Tampa, Fla.—Havana route, to complement daily roundtrip service.
I was surprised to see a Reuters article that said, “U.S. CDC urges Americans to avoid travel to Japan, Cuba, Armenia over COVID cases.” Why Cuba? I wondered. Why Japan, too, for that matter? As for Cuba, it ran counter to the information that I’ve been getting about the country’s handling of COVID over the last year and a half, which has been impressively successful. But Cuba tends to be a good whipping boy for the news media. In the travel media, reports on Cuba are almost always glowing. But in the news media, portrayals tend to be negative.
The American people are attracted to Cuba and fascinated with it. They jump en masse at the opportunity to travel there whenever the word gets out that the restrictions have been relaxed. But there is still an establishment that tries to punish Cuba at every opportunity. It must be the oldest political grudge in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many ways to look at Cuba. From a strictly-business point of view, it’s a sad story. There’s never been any question that there has been huge pent-up demand by Americans to travel to Cuba. After more than half a century of being prohibited by their own government from traveling to what used to be considered one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world, of course there is demand. It’s 90 miles from Florida, a heavenly tropical Caribbean destination. But for practical purposes it’s blackened off the tourist map.
There’s never been any situation that compares to it. Americans can travel pretty much anywhere. Americans are not dictated to by their government as to where they can travel. They can travel to America’s Cold War nemeses, Russia and China, even to Vietnam. But not Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »