New US sanctions on Cuba hotels and restaurants

 

The US official line says: "Direct financial transactions with these places are generally prohibited because they would disproportionately benefit those services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba."

The updated list adds 26 tourism venues, including 19 hotels ranging from the new five-star Iberostar Grand Packard in Old Havana to resorts in Cayos de Villa Clara; plus some restaurants and stores.

While US tourists are barred from visiting the hotels and other businesses on the list, travel to the island is still legal.

After the Obama Administration opened up travel to Cuba, President Trump reinstated sanctions that had been in place for over 50 years.

The number of US visitors to Cuba for the first half of 2018, not including Cuban-Americans, dropped 24% to 266,000. US tourism appears to be picking back up over the summer – in June 68,000 Americans travelled to the island, a 5% increase from 2017.

Legally, Americans are banned from being medical tourists to Cuba but the position of Cuban-Americans is a complex grey area. Some Americans get around the ban by travelling via Canada as the Canadians do not support the US ban, although this still leaves those Americans subject to legal action on their return to the USA.

For further analysis of the medical travel sector in Cuba, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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