U.S. tourism companies are losing out on at least $1.1 billion each year due to Washington’s current ban on travel to Cuba. That figure, which was presented by Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero, includes $600 million in airline sales, $300 million for travel agents and $200 million in U.S. tourism-related items such as exporting food and drinks as well as advertising Cuba as a travel destination.
The American Society of Travel Agents believes that without travel restrictions, nearly 2 million U.S. tourists would visit Cuba annually. That number includes the nearly 500,000 Cuban-Americans that would flock to their homeland to see family.
Cuba is actually a pretty popular place to visit if you are not an American. More than 2 million foreign travelers vacation on the island and they range from Canadians looking to escape the chilly climates up north to as far away as Spain, France and Britain. Many Canadians are secretly hoping for the ban to continue for Americans, as they have felt like Cuba is their own secret hideaway and do not want to see Americans infiltrate and bring up hotel prices with them.
Enforced back in 1962, the embargo prohibits pretty much any and all trade between both the United States and Cuba, however during the Carter administration the travel ban was eased. There is currently legislation floating around both the U.S. House and Senate that if signed could end the nearly 50 year travel ban.
So what do you think? Should the United States lift the travel ban to Cuba? Would you be interested in visiting the communist island? Leave your comments about this hot button topic as we would love to hear your opinions. Personally I am all for the ban being lifted and would love to check out the beautiful beaches of Havana with a nice cigar in hand.
Source: Associated Press