U.S. Allows For More Cuba Visits

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. July 8, 2011: Cuba’s tourism numbers could get as boost this summer as more Americans get a chance to visit the Caribbean island.

As the U.S. moves to ease its travel restrictions to Cuba, nine tour operators have been granted licenses to run so-called people-to-people exchanges.

The people-to-people initiative restores rules established by the Clinton administration on the theory that American visitors put a human face on the United States, which is continually criticized by the Cuban government and official media.

The Treasury Department requires that people-to-people licensees demonstrate itineraries packed with meaningful cultural exchanges, and vow to weed out anyone would offer spring break-type packages.

Among the operators already booking trip is Insight Cuba, which says it expects to run about 130 trips a year to the island and take 5,000-7,000 people there. Prices for a four-day, three-night all-inclusive stay will cost some US$2,000.