Travel Insiders Envision More Americans in Cuba
BY AMY LANGFIELD
While more than half a million Americans are already traveling to Cuba
legally every year, the door could open wider. There are indications of
a thawing of relations, even as the decades-old embargo remains in
place, according to travel professionals who gathered Saturday at The
New York Times Travel Show.
Currently, visits by Cuban family members and tour groups are allowed
that follow a cultural agenda that don’t allow much independent travel.
“I think there will be general licenses before the spring is over,” said
John McAuliff, the executive director of the U.S. not-for-profit Fund
for Reconciliation and Development. “It means you can stay in bed and
breakfasts, eat in private restaurants, take the public buses, rent a
car and pick up human hitchhikers. It becomes a totally different
process of engagement.”
Raymond McGrath, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for Cuban
affairs, participated in the Cuba panel at the travel show and
acknowledged that changes have been underway. But he advised travelers
and tour operators to research their trips, make sure they’re not
stage-managed the entire time, and then return to the U.S. to add to
“educated debate” on the topic.
“Cuba caused a lot of trouble,” McGrath said. “Fidel Castro caused a lot
of trouble for a lot of people all over the world for a long, long time.
And the reason that to a certain extent ended was because he ran out of
money, not because he had a change of heart.
First published March 4th 2014, 1:30 am
Source: Travel Insiders Envision More Americans in Cuba – NBC News.com –