Coalition Resources: Cuba Travel

November/December 2018 Survey of U.S. Tour Operators and Other Service Providers to Cuba

February 13, 2019: In November and December 2018, CREST distributed a survey to U.S. tour operators and survey providers that offer trips to Cuba. With this survey, CREST sought to update its existing data on U.S. people-to-people and educational travel to Cuba and learn how recent policy changes have impacted American travel to the island. In particular, CREST aimed to gather information on whether the State Department's change of its Cuba travel advisory rating in August 2018 had immediate positive impacts on travel. View the survey's key findings, which reveal that the majority of respondents expect travel bookings to Cuba to increase in 2019.


Letter to U.S. State Department

August 6, 2018: As the State Department was reviewing its Cuba travel advisory in August 2018, CREST sent a letter to the Department advocating for changing the advisory rating from "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" to no more than "Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution." The letter provides a range of research and datapoints to support this recommendation. On August 23, the State Department changed the Cuba travel advisory rating from Level 3 to Level 2, a move applauded by the CREST's Cuba coalition.


Petition to U.S. State Department

March 1, 2018: Six months after it had reduced the U.S. Embassy staff in Havana by 60 percent, the U.S. State Department was set to decide whether or not to re-staff the embassy. In anticipation of that decision, CREST circulated a petition to tour operators and educational travel companies, asking the department to re-staff the embassy and lower Cuba’s travel advisory from a 3 (“reconsider travel”) to at least a 2 (“exercise increased caution”). A press release about the petition revealed that 33 groups and businesses had signed it, and as news about the petition circulated, the number increased to 39. The State Department decided, however, not to re-staff, announcing, in a March 2 statement, that the embassy would continue to operate “with the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions.”


Survey of U.S. Tour Operators and Other Service Providers to Cuba

February 14, 2018: In January and February of 2018, CREST reached out to 156 U.S. tour operators and other service providers that have previously offered or currently offer trips to Cuba. View a press release covering the survey and key findings of the 42 responses received.


Members of the Cuba Travel Advocacy Coalition have shared the following helpful resources to understanding what the current travel regulations mean and how you can still visit Cuba:

  • Advocacy Toolkit - This toolkit is designed to help counter the misinformation about U.S. travel to Cuba and the Trump administration’s policy changes. It will be sent to U.S. tour operators, educational institutions, and others involved in travel to Cuba, in 2018. We will suggest that these organizations and businesses use this memo to craft their own letters to members of Congress, the media, etc., and that they also send it to U.S. citizens they have sent to Cuba so that these people can write similar letters about their experiences in Cuba.
  • Update on Travel Regulations - Cuba Educational Travel reinforces that travel to Cuba is perfectly safe and legal and how to go about it.
  • Cuba Educational Travel has also been featured in mainstream media with the following articles: Notice to Cuba Travelers: Understanding the Regulations - Bob Guild, vice president, Marazul Charters and co-coordinator, Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel (RESPECT), provides this useful breakdown of what travel looks like under each of the 12 OFAC categories.