US lifts travel ban to Cuba: but what does that mean for everyone else?

After over 50 years of restricted relations, US President Barack Obama has decided to - almost entirely - remove the embargo on American and Cuban relations.

Prior to the reforms, US citizens were not allowed to enter the Caribbean island (located just 145km from the coast of Florida) unless they were part of a specific class of citizen, such as a health worker or Cuban-American citizen.

Now, while restrictions on entry will still exist, they are trivial in comparison. One is that the trip is an “educational activity”. If this is not fulfilled, a trip is legitimate if it provides “support for the Cuban people”.

The use of US dollars and credit cards will also no longer be prohibited.

It’s great news for American holidaymakers, however some travellers from other parts of the world are questioning whether the influx of Yanks will spoil the old-timey feel of the island the Western World forgot.

The Daily Mail reports that online searches for trips to Cuba have risen by 95% following the announcement.

Members of Australian travel forum The Australian Frequent Flyer were upset with the change, saying that it would change the character of the Caribbean’s biggest island.

“I will bet you that the first thing that will happen is the opening of a Hilton Hotel, thousands of Americans (who have been forcibly restricted from ever getting there) will flock to there in droves,” one wrote.

“Must try [to visit] early in the new year; I agree it will change greatly when Americans can go there freely,” said another.

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