Major new restrictions have been announced for US citizens traveling, blocking the most common way Americans are able to visit the island. The State Department announced that “going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorization. In addition, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.”
American tourism is not explicitly permitted in Cuba. However, Americans can travel to Cuba if it is covered under specific categories, which included organized group travel, known as group people-to-people travel, until Tuesday. It was made easier after 2015 when the US also reopened its embassy in Havana and Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington.
Commercial flights from the US will continue to be permitted as they “broadly support family travel and other lawful forms of travel,” CNN reports.
The Treasury Department also clarified that “certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019.”
Cuban government statistics say US citizens have quickly grown to become the second largest foreign group visiting the island after Canadians.