Bill going through on lifting ban on travel to Cuba.
Tuesday, 17th February 2009
Source : By Passion of a Zealot Andrew Calvo
On February 4th a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives would allow US residents full unrestricted travel to and from Cuba.

This would essentially lift all the travel restrictions placed on US residents - but seems to have nothing to do with the trade embargo that has been in effect with the original travel restriction since 1963 which leaves some pretty significant questions about what Americans can actually do when they get to Cuba.

I originally predicted that the US was going to be more open to trade/travel with Cuba last year when Fidel Castro resigned, and also mentioned about the enormous growth potential that can have to the travel and tourism industries in both Cuba and America once those restrictions were lifted.

I highly doubt that the bill will pass in its current form - most bills rarely pass without alterations from their first version - but its definitely a step in the right direction. I'd like to see the lessening of trade restrictions on Cuba in addition to a lifting of the travel ban, otherwise it doesn't make sense and would end up hurting the American economy.

As I understand it, even though Americans would be able to travel to and from Cuba - any money they spend there (if that would even be considered legal) would essentially be money which would permanently leave the American financial system, almost the equivalent of actually destroying money. Since trade is banned between Cuba and America, and Cuban citizens still wouldn't be allowed to travel to America there would be no influx of spending from Cubans or Cuba.

If the trade embargo isn't lifted it removes an enormous income source that would instantly become very lucrative via tourism. It's no secret that before the embargo in 1963 Cuba was a very popular and gorgeous vacation spot, some of hte hotels there were regarded as the nicest in the world and the casino industry was very popular with tourists as well. When Americans begin to travel to Cuba again - those needs are going to need to be met again, and since the trade embargo still exists, foreign companies would be eager to open up hotels and tourist attractions provide capital to do so; all actions that Americans and American companies would be prevented from doing.

I'm just thinking of the potential for the travel industry if they are able to expand into Cuba: Cruise ships beginning or ending voyages, in addition to stops in Cuba, the hotel industry opening up hotels throughout the island - some new builds, some renovations of older, historic buildings that we as Americans (and in a way - the rest of the world) really have not seen for almost 50 years and would be an attraction in and of itself, luxury honeymoon resorts, and even casinos. The possibilities are endless, and this is only in one industry, imagine the other industries which would be positively affected by trade with Cuba - automobile, housing, telecommunications, financial, electronics, etc.

I think the introduction of this bill is a great step forward for Cuba and Cuban-American relations. There is still alot of animosity toward the communist Cuban government which won't be forgiven overnight, but its apparent that Raul Castro (Fidel's brother) who is now the President is willing to work with America and does want to patch up relations. I don't see this bill passing in its current form, and its a question as to if the bill will even pass in any form - but change is in the air (and that has nothing to do with our new President - although he has said he is open to lessening trade restrictions with Cuba.)

It's going to be a gradual process, and I firmly believe that eventually - perhaps as soon as a decade or so from now - we will have lifted the trade and travel embargo with Cuba and it will once again become a popular and sought after travel destination as well as a huge benefit to the American economy as it's really the only place in the world where development is just dying to happen and we could become its greatest asset in helping to re-develop an entire country.


Andrew Calvo is a 26 year old Commercial Real Estate Advisor in New Jersey. I live in Tinton Falls, NJ. This blog is about my passions - primarily hotels, commercial real estate, and development, etc.

Since I have been in High School Ifve had numerous jobs, but the field which has always interested me is Real Estate, Hotel Development and Construction. I consider myself a zealot in that area - I try to absorb as much as I possibly can, take the experiences that I learn, or read about and use them in my life

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