Here’s an update on the situation in Cuba that I received from my U.S. Travel Service Provider.
- Hurricane Irma: Not much damage was done in Havana proper. Any hurricane damage that did occur has been repaired and all normal tourist venues in the country are open for visits.
- Sonic nonsense and the US Embassy: We have taken the position from day one that this issue was nonsense and as recently as yesterday Senator Flake from Arizona, who recently visited Cuba and met with Cuban government and health officials, stated clearly that the Cuban government had no culpability in this issue ... assuming there even IS an issue. I would like to remind you of the following facts surrounding this issue which have come to light these past few months:
(a) not one embassy official who supposedly lost his or her hearing has been interviewed by a member of the media,
(b) Cuban government health officials have asked our government to interview these people (or at least some of them) but access has been denied repeatedly by our government,
(c) the USA is the only country in the world that has Cuba on a Travel Warning list,
(d) not one tourist from anywhere in the world including the USA, to my knowledge, has been affected whatsoever by this presumed sonic business. My strong opinion, and that of nearly every travel executive that offers Cuba as a destination, remains that Cuba as a country has been and remains, one of the safest countries in the world to visit.
Please see related article HERE.
- New OFAC” regulations: After the dust cleared not much has actually changed from restrictions and legal categories of travel. People to People travel is still available and in fact, seems to have liberalized from former regulations in that new OFAC regulations no longer detail specifics as they once did (so many hours touring per day, etc.), and they have added a category of travel called “Assistance for the Cuban people.” This new category includes home cooked meals at “Paladars”, touring to fabulous community projects and private art galleries, etc. qualify for “Assistance” travel.
Overall tourism is down in Cuba so availability is generally not an issue, prices have come down, and with less tourists arriving (with the exception of cruise clients) the country is wide open for travel.