An easy way for Cuba to increase US tourism

Cuba's economy is benefiting from reforms that have permitted small and medium businesses that are private. However so far that does not include guides, travel agents or tour operators. Cuban private guides do operate but they lack legal status, can't arrange prepayment by clients and are vulnerable to periodic crackdowns by the police. Guides have been trying to achieve cuenta propista (self employed) status which would allow the government to license and tax them, and vet their professional qualifications, but they have been turned down. A private travel sector would enable partnering with independent travel advisors in the US who are individually too small scale to work with government receiving agencies, but cumulatively can generate large traffic for Cuba. Vietnam's travel industry expanded dramatically when it allowed a role for private operators.

Working with private travel providers in Cuba also strengthens the status of American travelers who will use the Support for the Cuban People general license.

John McAuliff (Cuba)