Just got this from a US travel agent.
My name is Jim Buckley and I am sending you an email
to help you sort through a lot of press coverage and confusion that will occur in the next couple of weeks. This is all about travel to Cuba
Starting today you will hear a lot about an agreement between the USA and Cuba
to begin commercial
between the two countries. Another company is planning on instituting a ferry service
between the two countries. Many companies are promoting travel to Cuba who are, at the moment, not authorized to sell travel to Cuba but have applications pending. All of this will create confusion and misinformation in the short term.
This information will stimulate conversation among friends and families so we want to provide you with some basic information that is fact and current
Only certain US companies have been granted licenses/permits authorizing them to bring tourists to Cuba. At this moment the government
still requires these groups to be in a approved category such as “cultural”. The groups all depart from south Florida
and these companies use charter
flights to and from Cuba. There are a few companies that are currently authorized by our government
for this travel and among them are International Expeditions and Tauck.
What has changed recently is the following:
travel is now authorized by permit
o You may now open a bank account in Cuba and Cubans can do so in the US.
o You may now purchase
gifts in Cuba and they are allowed to be brought back to the US. Among these items are Cuban cigars, as an example.
The bottom line is that this scene is rapidly changing and there is a lot of info floating around that is either misleading, being released prematurely or will go into effect in the near future.
If you, a family member
, or a friend is thinking of a visit to Cuba please refer them to us. Do we know all of the answers? No, the scene is changing rapidly but we are wired into sources enabling us to provide accurate information.
James A. (Jim) Buckley, CTA
President, Island Travel
95 Mathews Drive, Suite B-3
Island, SC 29926
President, Carolinas Chapter of ASTA