Cuba Travel: Obama Loosens Travel Restrictions
It will no longer be shocking to see Havana, Cuba as a destination on airport screens. On January 14, 2010, the Obama administration announced plans to ease Cuban travel restrictions. The White House press office sent out a release stating that Obama had directed the changes, which do not need congressional approval and will be put in place within two weeks. This policy will allow students seeking academic credit and churches traveling for religious purpose to go to Cuba.
Soon, more airports will be allowed to offer service to Cuba. Currently, only three airports – Miami, Los Angeles and New York City – can offer authorized charters to Cuba. That will soon be expanded to any international airport equipped with proper customs and immigration facilities. Representative Kathy Castor of the Tampa airport, Florida said, “I am confident that Tampa International Airport will be first in line to apply for final approval for expanded eligibility”. Other airports to be reviewed include San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Houston, Dallas, Boston, and Chicago.
Many supporters of the new policies are pleased that Cubans and Americans will now have greater interaction, and that the U.S. is working toward a positive relationship.
Even though only three cities have been able to offer flights to Cuba, the U.S. ranked second to Canada as a source of visitors. More and more travelers want to see dynamic Cuba, and last year approximately 400,000 Americans traveled to Cuba, the highest figure since before the 1959 revolution.