Update from the Media Day in Havana by Cicely Sanchez, AltruVistas Cuba Program Director

Hi everyone,

Did not want to miss the opportunity to share this with you all, who are actually part of the chain of showing the beauty, the knowledge and the treasures of OUR Cuba.

Just wanted to share the satisfaction that I felt representing AltruVistas at the Media Day in Havana. The event was held January the 29th in the Melia Cohiba, and our presence there meant a lot. It showed our commitment and continued effort to support legal and safe travel to Cuba.

Over 20 representatives from the US travel industry were in attendance, and more than 10 US press representatives were also there — from CNN, CBS, the Miami Herald, On Cuba, Reuters, the Associated Press and others. There were also about 9 Cuban representatives from the tourism industry (from travel agencies like Havanatur, San Cristobal, Amistur, and companies like Melia Hotels) as well as more than 10 Cuban media representatives from outlets such as Cubavision, CubaDebate, Portal de la TV Cubana, Cuban News Agency, Granma, Juventud Rebelde Radio Habana Cuba, and others. All of us there were given the feeling that we do want to continue developing tourism between the two countries; that we do want to share Cubans’ beauty and achievements and values and hospitality with people from the US. And that really counts for those like me, who were there yesterday.

Jose Bisbe, the Ministry of Tourism representative, affirmed that Cuba remains a safe and legal place to stay. It is still very much legal and possible to book a room at a hotel or casa particular directly, or through Airbnb, or even through a third country. Bisbe also affirmed that Cuba is ready to receive the travelers and to reach again the numbers that we had in January of last year.

Also, we heard from attorney Lindsey Frank, who shared what has changed and what has not changed with respect to the Cuba travel policy and measures stated by the Trump administration on November 9th 2017. There have been no serious or remarkable changes and people can still travel under the P2P license, stay in casas, visit projects, attend workshops, and exchange with the Cuban people — they can travel under any of the 12 categories. There were other US representatives who commented on the efforts that are taking place from the US side to continue stimulating travels to Cuba — like American Airlines, the largest air company operating between the US and Cuba, whose representative stated that they have already asked for the permits from the US Department of Transport to have 14 more weekly frequencies from Miami to Havana.

There is a shared intention of stimulating the growth of tourism to Cuba from the US, and a will to encourage the safe and legal travel to Cuba.

From my perspective, the gathering that took place on the 29th in Havana can be described as “courageously fantastic,” and I am in deep appreciation as a Cuban and as a human being who wants to continue strengthening the bonds between the two countries and break the ideological barrier that has recently designated Cuba as an unsafe country.

My message to the US people who might have not made the decision to travel to Cuba yet, but were about to?


Cicely Aquino
AltruVistas Cuba Program Director

2018-02-01T21:17:14+00:00 Categories: AltruVistas Statements, Current Events, Uncategorized|

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