Lawmakers introduce bill to lift all travel restrictions from U.S. to Cuba
Coming on the heels of the Latin American Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (SAHIC) last week, U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle introduced legislation yesterday to eliminate all travel restrictions to Cuba.
The bill was originally introduced in 2015 under “The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act” but was essentially dead on arrival with meagre 8 co-sponsors. The current version of the bill has already gathered much more support this time around with 55 co-sponsors, however that still falls just short of the 60 needed so that the bill can move forward in the House and Senate. It is unclear at this point if the bill will in fact make it to a vote.
Any efforts to normalize travel relations with Cuba is also being met by strong opposition from some U.S. lawmakers like Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has been one of several consistent voices in Congress advocating against eased relations between the U.S. and Cuba and supporting President Trump’s campaign promises to reverse Obama-era policies toward Cuba.
According to Reuters, over 40 U.S. travel companies and organizations called on the Trump administration this week not to prohibit expanded U.S. travel to Cuba. And several U.S. hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and Wyndham showed their support for and interest in expanding hotel developments in Cuba at SAHIC last week.
The travel industry’s momentum when it comes to growing opportunities and encouraging tourism in Cuba doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. This week, Expedia began selling hundreds of hotel rooms across 12 cities in Cuba on Expedia.com, Orbitz, Hotels.com, and Travelocity.