Want to be a tourist in Cuba? Unfortunately, Congress says no.
Due to legislation passed by Congress in 2000, Cuba is the only country in the world to which Americans can’t travel freely. As an American you can travel to North Korea, Syria, or Saudi Arabia -- but you can’t travel to Cuba as a tourist.*
No other country bars its citizens from visiting Cuba. As a result, the ban on travel has failed to achieve any of its objectives, and has only isolated Americans from Cuba.
81% of Americans, including 71% of Republicans and 96% of Cubans, support ending the travel ban. The travel ban is an example of government overreach that has failed to achieve any of its intended goals.
Why engagement is the answer.
· Free society. Restricting the right of Americans to travel to Cuba is inconsistent with our values as a free society. The federal government shouldn’t be in the position of telling citizens where they can or can’t vacation.
· Promotes democracy in Cuba. While this outdated embargo has failed, re-engagement is driving change on the island that is empowering the Cuban people. Cuba’s private sector is the most dynamic sector of Cuba’s economy, estimated to have grown to employ about 1/3 of Cuba’s workforce. This boom in private sector employment is fueled by tourism, which would dramatically increase if we lift the travel ban.
· Good for business. From U.S. agriculture to the travel industry, there are several sectors that are losing out because of U.S. policy towards Cuba. Here’s a snapshot of how some industries could benefit:
• Agriculture support: experts predict that lifting the travel ban would lead to a significant increase in American tourism to Cuba, which will increase demand in Cuba for U.S. agriculture products, creating greater opportunities for U.S. agribusiness.
• Manufacturing support: The U.S. manufacturing industry would benefit from growth in demand for products needed in Cuba as the country looks to increase efficiencies across the economy and modernize its infrastructure to keep up with the increased flow of travel.
• Travel industry and private enterprise in Cuba: Roughly 150,000 Americans with no family ties to Cuba traveled to the island in 2015, up from 91,000 in 2014. Demand for hotel rooms, organized trips, and flights are at an all-time high. This has bolstered U.S. travel businesses and Cuban private businesses, and both sectors stand to grow exponentially should the ban be lifted.
*You can travel to Cuba under one of the 12 qualifying categories: The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.