The Cuban government has proudly announced a nearly 200 percent increase in the number of Americans that visited the island nation last year. This surge flies in the face of what President Donald J. Trump had hoped for when he roll backed some of former President Obama’s open travel policies.
Nearly 1.2 million American visited Cuba in 2017 with nearly half-a-million of those being Cubans living in the U.S.
Last year Trump required all travel to Cuba to consist of a “face-to-face encounter with the people” and blocked businesses deals between the two countries.
The restrictions limited the type of travel Americans could partake of in Cuba. The administration also issued a list of businesses that American’s had to avoid since they were government owned – causing great confusing in what was legal or illegal when traveling to Cuba. Additionally, in September the U.S. government announced they were cutting embassy staff working at the US embassy in Havana while urging everyone else to stay away. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered nearly 60 percent of the staff to come home and stopped processing visas in Cuba effective immediately.
In total the Pan American Post is reporting the Cuban economy lost $1.5 billion in revenue from the new restrictions.
In spite of the travel surge it was not at levels hoped for by the Cuban government and more so American airline carriers. A number have dropped routes to Cuba or severely curtails flights.
A key cause for the lower than expected levels is the confusion the new travel restrictions are causing. Nonetheless numerous surveys indicate interest in Cuba and visiting remains high – a good economic indicator for Cuba for 2018.
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