Cultural Cuba Is Still Allowed to Operate Under New Restrictions

Cultural Cuba, a niche destination management company specializing in private tours to Cuba, is still allowed to operate its itineraries despite the U.S. Treasury Department’s new restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island.

Programs by Cultural Cuba fall under the authorized OFAC categories of "Support for the Cuban People," "Humanitarian" and “Religious Purposes.” These curated trips directly support hundreds of Cubans, including artists, musicians, dancers, school children and small business owners, while giving clients insider access to authentic Cuba. The new June restrictions affect companies that organize large group tours, cruises and independent travelers who check the "People to People" box for travel but do not actually travel with a licensed tour operator, the company said.

Cruises, like Carnival, must adapt to theses restrictions. For example, as reported by out sister publication Travel Agent, Virgin Voyages is looking toward Mexico. Having originally planned itineraries with calls in Havana, Scarlet Lady will now sail five-night itineraries to several destinations in the Riviera Maya.

Commercial airlines are not affected by the latest U.S. government restrictions and continue scheduled flights to Cuba. The destination is accessible through several nonstop flights from nine major cities in the U.S., including New York, Newark, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Apple Vacation’s programs operated by Cuba Travel Services are also not affected by the ban because they fall under the “Support for the Cuban People” category. The company is also developing new offerings.

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