Something that started during the Obama administration still brings tourists to Cuba every year. Restrictions placed during the Trump administration have made it much more difficult to get to the island however. Cruise ships all left in July 2019 and fewer and fewer airlines now fly from America to Cuba. There are still legal ways for Americans to visit this beautiful country though.
Since US President Donald Trump signed the latest round of restrictions on US travel to Cuba, which eliminated “people to people” educational tours for Americans and cruise ship operations from the US to Cuba in June, tourist arrivals to the Caribbean island have plunged nearly 21%, Cuban government data shows.In 2019, nearly 500,000 people traveled from the US to Cuba, compared to more than 638,000 in 2018.Trump went further in October 2019, mandating that US airlines cut commercial flights to nine destinations on the island (everywhere except Havana), and on January 10, he did the same for public charter flights.The current decline reverses a boom in arrivals following the US-Cuba agreement under former US President Barack Obama.“It became very evident in June when Trump made these changes that it was not going to be business as usual,” says Peggy Goldman, president and co-owner of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania-based Friendly Planet Travel. Goldman said Friendly Planet’s US-to-Cuba numbers, echoing industry-wide trends, are down by 20%.“The impression that people had — even travel agents who understand the industry — is that travel to Cuba from the US is no longer legal. We had to explain and educate people on travel to Cuba all over again.”“But all is not lost,” adds Goldman. “We still get reservations every day.”