Emily Nipps, Communications Manager at Tampa International Airport, says there are 5-7 flights to Cuba a week from Tampa and it’s based on demand. Cuban-owned ABC Charters is one of 2 companies that operate the chartered flights. American Airlines boarding agents say its planes and AA crew are used for the charters to Cuba. Nipps has the numbers on how much air travel has increased to Cuba from Tampa in video above. Nipps attributes the growing interest to the large Cuban populations in Tampa, Miami and New York City.
You can’t go to Cuba as a tourist only, but legally, Americans can go online, book a flight to Havana, starting today. The purpose of the trip must fall into 12 existing categories and follow the rules from the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Department. The authorized travel categories include all family visits, official U.S. government, foreign government and certain intergovernmental organizations, journalism, professional research and professional meetings, educational activities, religious activities, import and export goods and services, including telecommunications, internet services, building and construction materials.
U.S. citizens also can give up to $2,000 per quarter to Cuban nationals and their relatives in Cuba. That’s up from $500 previously allowed. Money and donations to certain government officials and the Communist Party are prohibited.
The White House also is working on re-establishing an embassy in Havana as part of improved relations with Cuba.
With the door open, Americans can use credit and debit cards for their trips to Cuba, but banks and airlines will need to set up the process for payment and flight schedules.
Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov, USA Today, WTSP-TV