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U.S. restricts travel to Cuba: Cruises, flights may be affected

A restored 1950s car drives past a docked

A restored 1950s car drives past a docked cruise ship in Havana. New U.S. travel restrictions may affect the future of cruises to Cuba. Photo Credit: Alamy / Malcolm McDougall Photography

The Trump administration is tightening restrictions on travel to Cuba, reversing the engagement policies of the Obama era.

Travel to Cuba will now be limited to family visits, restricting those deemed as “veiled tourism,” said a high-ranking official who spoke on condition of anonymity. That could signal the end of cruises, which started to operate during the Obama years because of an expansion of the categories of travel allowed.

The tightened restrictions also could affect air travel because of a reduction of passengers. U.S. laws allow only 12 categories of travel, among them educational visits, to promote people-to-people contacts and for professional and research work.

In addition, the State Department will add five companies to its list of restricted entities, including Aerogaviota, an airline controlled by Gaviota, a group of tourism-relative companies controlled by the Cuban armed forces. The step was formally announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is scheduled to take effect on May 2.

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