Eben Peck, Executive Vice President, Advocacy at the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), issues the following statement in response to the newly issued regulations governing trade and travel between the U.S. and Cuba:
“We believe in the fundamental principle of travel freedom, and that our government should not be in the business of telling Americans where to travel or not to travel. The American people are the best ambassadors of U.S. values abroad, and should be allowed to freely promulgate those values and travel to any destination they wish without restriction from their own government.
“Rather than shutting the door to this market 90 miles off our shores, we call on policymakers to enact legislation to do away with the statutory Cuba travel ban once and for all. While helping our members and their clients comply with the rules announced today, we will continue to advocate toward Cuba travel freedom and look forward to the day it becomes reality.
“While these regulations move us in the opposite direction of the full opening of the Cuba market ASTA has long pushed for, they did incorporate several items we did push for and, perhaps most importantly, the rules of the road are now set. We are confident that our cruise and tour partners and other travel industry stakeholders will adjust quickly to the new rules with an eye toward keeping Cuba as viable a destination for U.S. travelers (and travel agents) as possible. ASTA will continue to monitor implementation and respond to member queries as the situation unfolds.”
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.