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This issue’s cover story (“Tapping the Headwaters,” page 12) discusses how travel advisors can use riverboats to convert reluctant clients into cruisers. As I read the story, I was struck by how open cruise executives are to innovation and change. For instance, since travelers have indicated they want to spend more time in cities, several river cruise lines have adjusted their itineraries to offer evenings in port. In response to passengers’ more active lifestyles, the companies have added adventurous excursions.
This ability to listen to their customers stands in stark contrast to what we have recently seen with the Trump administration’s proposed changes in travel to Cuba. National security advisor John Bolton stated that the Treasury Department “will implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba.”
As of press time, there has been no clarification on the details of this statement, and the announcement has resulted in confusion in the travel industry, as well as from the general public.
Bolton indicated that one reason for this clampdown is to deprive the Cuban government of tourist dollars. There was no acknowledgement, however, of how this policy would hurt the many U.S. companies — including cruise lines — that are successfully selling tourism to the island.
Furthermore, it’s clear that when people from different cultures interact, they often gain a deeper understanding of their similarities and differences. If the administration truly cared about the situation in Cuba, then exposing the Cuban people to the liberty and prosperity that we enjoy in the U.S. is the ideal way to promote regime change.
Ultimately, the administration could learn from cruise lines and, instead of imposing restrictions that take us backward, respond to what the vast majority of Americans actually want: the freedom to make their own travel decisions.