With the Trump administration no longer allowing individual
people-to-people travel to Cuba, tour operators see the policy change as an
opportunity to promote their value to U.S. citizens who want to visit the
"In order to navigate the situation properly, U.S.
travelers' best bet is to go with a licensed and trusted operator like Globus with
bona fide people-to-people cultural exchanges," said Steve Born, senior vice president of
marketing for the Globus family of brands.
SmartTours CEO Greg Geronemus said, "The silver lining
is that it's still very much possible to travel to Cuba -- the options have
simply become more limited."
Born said that based on what the White House has released
thus far on upcoming policy changes, Globus' Cuba tours "are in complete
The revised policy reverts to the pre-2016 rule, which mandates that
anyone traveling under the people-to-people category must be part of a group to
ensure compliance with federal rules that prohibit tourism visits to Cuba.
"While the news comes as a step back for travel to
Cuba, it is business as usual for Intrepid Travel and licensed people-to-people
operators," said Leigh Barnes, director of Intrepid Group North America. "For
now, the restrictions have been tightened, but they have not been reversed.
Intrepid and the entire travel community should continue to stand for open
borders and stand with Cuba."
Tour operators do not appear to be backing down from selling
or promoting Cuba. In fact, Trump's policy shift might fuel increased demand
because travelers might decide to book Cuba should further restrictions make it
even more difficult to travel there, said Travis Pittman, CEO of TourRadar, an
online tour search and booking company.