The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) commends the Obama Administration for taking another giant step toward allowing Americans to travel freely to Cuba. In regulations issued today by the Commerce and Treasury departments, travel agents will be legally unencumbered from selling authorized travel services to Cuba, effective upon publication in the Federal Register, expected tomorrow.
“It is a long-standing policy at ASTA that travel freedoms should not be used as a pawn in matters of foreign policy,” said President and CEO Zane Kerby. “On behalf of our U.S.-based members, we have conveyed this sentiment to the President and current and former administration officials over the past several years, and we applaud their efforts to break down these barriers once and for all.”
Earlier this month ASTA sent a letter to Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary in Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, requesting that those Americans who currently qualify for travel under the 12 existing categories allowed by current law, be allowed to do so through a travel agent without the agent needing to have a specific license. Under the new regulations, which build on the President’s Dec. 17 announcement that would expand travel to Cuba, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is amending section 515.572 to permit travel agents and airlines to provide “authorized” travel services without the need for a specific license from OFAC. Agents must, however, receive confirmation from the client that the travel is authorized, and that certification and other information must be retained on file by the travel agent for five years.
For other questions related to travel to Cuba, OFAC has provided this list of frequently asked questions. For more about this and other ASTA advocacy initiatives, visit ASTA.org/Advocacy.
ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information, visit ASTA.org.
ASTA’s sister association, The National Association of Career Travel Agents, represents a professional community of independent travel agents ready to assist the traveling public.