Cuba Policy Foundation


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday, June 25, 2002    

Contact: Brian Alexander   (202) 321-CUBA (2822)







Tuesday, June 25, 2002, Washington, D.C. – Travel to Cuba by Americans would bring gains to the U.S. economy, according to a new study commissioned by the Cuba Policy Foundation, to be released today at a press conference at noon on Capitol Hill in Room 2255 Rayburn House Office Building. 


In travel-related gains alone, a total lifting of the embargo would produce $545.6 million and 3,797 American jobs after one year; the fifth year out, the U.S. economy would gain over $1.9 billion dollars in income and 12,180 jobs.  Simply allowing U.S. carriers (airlines and cruise ships) tour operators to operate in Cuba would yield for the American economy $522.6 million the first year, and $1.6 billion with 10,749 jobs in the fifth year from travel-related gains.  SEE TABLE 1.


“The ban on travel to Cuba is hurting the U.S. economy.  Ending restrictions on travel to Cuba and allowing U.S. carriers and tour operators to provide services to American travelers would provide a much-needed source of growth to the U.S. travel sector, particularly the troubled airline industry,” according to Ambassador Sally Grooms Cowal of the Cuba Policy Foundation.  SEE TABLE 2.


Also speaking today will be Robert Muse, a lawyer with wide experience of U.S. laws relating to Cuba. Over the years he has handled many applications for travel licenses to Cuba by educational and other institutions.  According to Muse, “The Bush Administration has imposed a virtual moratorium on U.S. travel to Cuba by denying applications for approved travel or failing to process them.”  “Based my professional experience,” Muse said, “reform of the administrative process is not possible and that the ban on travel to Cuba should be repealed by an act of Congress.”   


“Americans want to travel to Cuba, and a growing bipartisan coalition in Congress supports them.  It is time U.S. policy reflects the sentiment in Congress and the will of the American people,” said Ambassador Cowal.  According to an April 2001 poll by the Cuba Policy Foundation, 66.8 percent of Americans think Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba.  In July 2001, the House of Representatives voted 240-186 in support of a provision that would end enforcement of the travel ban and another similar vote is expected this year.  The newly formed House Cuba Working Group, a bipartisan coalition of 22 Republicans and 22 Democrats, includes ending the travel ban as one of its legislative priorities. 


At the same press conference, Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and the bipartisan House Cuba Working Group will announce legislation to lift the travel ban.  If enacted into law, the new bill would have a positive effect on the U.S. travel industry.  “The Cuba Working Group bill would produce gains somewhere between the first and second scenario benefits, leading to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of gains for the U.S. economy,” according to Ed Sanders, co-author of the Cuba Policy Foundation travel study. 


See Tables Below.

TABLE 1.  Summary of Total Economic Benefits


                                                                  Year One                                    Year Five

     Scenario                    Total Income     Total Jobs         Total Income     Total Jobs

1.  End Travel Ban          $8.5 million            86                  $23.9mil.              239

2.  Allow U.S. Carriers    $522.6 mil.        3,224              $1,695.6 mil.       10,749

3.  Lift Embargo              $545.6 mil.        3,797              $1,972.4 mil.       12,180




TABLE 2.  Fifth Year Economic Benefits from Lifting the Embargo by Travel Sector
                                         Income                        Jobs
Direct Benefits

-  Airlines                              $595,000,000          2,975

-  Cruise ships/ferries             247,000,000          1,907

-  Tour operators                      63,000,000             630

-  Travel agents                        21,000,000             210

-  U.S. hotels                          102,000,000              652

-  U.S. other                              10,000,000               56


Indirect/Induced Benefits     934,000,000          5,769


Total                                   $1,972,000,000        12,180



Source: “Economic Benefits to the United States from Lifting the Ban on Travel to Cuba,” prepared by Ed Sanders and Patrick Long, University of Colorado at Boulder, for the Cuba Policy Foundation, Washington, DC, June 2002.


For more information, please contact Cuba Policy Foundation.