On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be reinstating travel and commercial restrictions for Cuba that had previously been eased by the Obama administration. While the stated goal of President Trump’s new restrictions may be to obtain additional concessions from the Cuban government, these “new” policies appear to leave in place many of the key Obama-era measures that initially eased sanctions. The main focus of the revised policy seems to focus on prohibiting American companies and citizens from doing business with any firm controlled by the Cuban military (or its intelligence or security services), walling off crucial parts of the economy including much of the traditional hotel and tourist service-related sectors.
Over the past week we’ve received hundreds of calls and emails here at Yellow Dog asking about the future of fishing in Cuba and what these new restrictions mean for those that want to travel to Cuba to fish. One of the most important things to mention is that this new policy has not yet been implemented. Sources suggest that revisions are expected within 90 days, but until then, it is business as usual for Cuba related travel. If you have an upcoming trip or a trip that is already on the books, your trip will not be affected in any way. Likewise, trips booked prior to the implementation of any new OFAC regulations will also be unaffected.
Since we first began selling trips to Cuba several years ago, Yellow Dog has always provided legal travel options for all of our Cuban destinations and trip packages. As we look to the future, we fully expect that this process will remain the same. Through our licensing partnerships and affiliations, we will continue to issue licenses for travel to Cuba, and the holder of those licenses can be confident in their use for re-entry into the US. While the Trump Administration is looking to discourage the appearance of “individual/normal tourism” with the introduction of the new policies, it seems certain that remittances to Cuba will continue for the future, as will cruise packages, group tours, direct-from-the-U.S. commercial flights, and other visits by organized and hosted groups. A list of businesses that Americans are specifically prohibited from doing business with (i.e. Cuban military-related entities) is expected to be released by the White House within the next 90 days. At that point, we will have 100 percent certainty and clarity on this issue. Until then, we feel strongly that we are 99.99 percent “good-to-go” moving forward.
In addition, as per the outline of Trump’s announcement on the Treasury Department’s OFAC website, if you complete at least one travel-related transaction (such as booking a trip package, purchasing a flight or reserving accommodations), your trip would be authorized, provided that the travel-related restrictions are consistent with OFAC regulations as of June 16, 2017.
The bottom line? All the more reason to make those travel-related transactions now, before new and revised policies are rolled out.
Yellow Dog is still booking and arranging trips to Cuba, and we’re still able to take great care of our clients who have trips scheduled and planned for 2017 and 2018 as well as those that are planning to book in the near future. Availability for both 2018 and 2019 is already in high demand, however, so booking and arranging future trip dates as soon as possible is always advised. We have recently reserved and locked in a number of prime weeks for 2018, so contact Yellow Dog today to reserve your Cuba spots today.
As always, we are here to answer any questions you have and to help in any way that we can. Yellow Dog has always done Cuba better than anyone in the game, and we look forward to working with you and for you to plan and arrange your next great fishing adventure!