Alexandria, VA, June 22, 2016 – ASTA President & CEO Zane Kerby issues the following statement on an amendment offered by U.S. Representatives Sanford, Emmer, McGovern, Castor, Lee and others to a financial services appropriations bill that will end the so-called Cuba travel ban for one year. The amendment could be voted on as soon as tonight.
“ASTA has long believed that Americans ought to be allowed to travel across the globe without restriction, allowing them to act as ambassadors of freedom and American values abroad. While the Administration’s recent actions on Cuba travel are a step in the right direction, it is up to Congress to do away with the ‘travel ban’ once and for all. We applaud Representatives Sanford, Emmer, McGovern and their bipartisan coalition for their leadership on this issue and urge the House to pass their amendment and the broader Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act without delay.”
Starting in December 2014, the Obama Administration took a series of steps to relax restrictions on travel to Cuba, including an expansion of the 12 existing categories of travel to Cuba allowed by current law (family visits, professional research, humanitarian projects, etc.). General tourist travel to Cuba, however, remains banned by U.S. law.
On June 16, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously approved an amendment to its version of the financial services budget bill to lift the Cuba travel ban for one year, effectively identical to the Sanford Amendment pending in the House. After the House and Senate bills pass their respective versions of the bill, a “conference committee” will reconcile differences between the two bills and present final legislation to the President for his signature or veto.
ASTA is calling on its members and all interested parties to contact their House members in advance of the vote through our legislative grassroots portal.
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.