After the commotion over the Trump ban on sailings to Cuba, several tour operators have started reviving plans made to let travel advisors and the public know that Cuba is still a valid travel destination for Americans. While prior worries that the chaos of the ban would result in a decline in bookings, some Cuba operators stated that there was actually an increased interest in the island nation, including from individuals whose trips had been cancelled.
Cuba is still an option
President of Cuba Educational Travel, Collin Laverty, says that his company has been diligently trying to explain the changes in policy to past, present, and future customers. He said that the group was also receiving clients from two cruise lines that he had partnerships with. “We’ve had dozens of small and large groups that were planning on visiting by cruise ship reach out,” said Laverty. “And we’ve rebooked them with compliant land programs that allow them to visit and see Cuba now, often the original draw that had them sign up for the cruise.”
President of Apple Vacations, John Tarkowski, similarly stated that Apple was “actively educating travel advisors through social media and other avenues of communication so that they in turn could educate the consumer” that the Cuba deals Apple has available in the “support for the Cuban people” category are still legal. Apple also plans to develop more promotion for Cuba tours. “There is still high demand for Cuba,” says Tarkowski “and Apple Vacations will continue to offer opportunities for American travelers to interact with Cuban culture in compliance with regulations.”
However, there were still many questions and doubts over the details of which types of travel had been barred, causing several agencies that were operating under the people-to-people category to halt any new Cuba bookings. President of the U.S Tour Operators Association, Terry Dale, said that managing the Cuba situation would be a primary concern for the trade group when it brings members to Washington next week for the 2019 congressional meeting.