Donald Trump is expected to announce his administration’s Cuba policy in Miami today. According to the White House, he will roll back some of the two-year-old Obama-era policies that made it easier for Americans to travel to the island nation. Trump also plans to impose stiffer rules for American travelers visiting Cuba, doing away with many of the person-to-person visas, and prohibiting transactions with hotels and tourist groups controlled by the Cuban military, according to the New York Times.
The rule change is expected to make it much harder for American tourists to visit Cuba, cutting into Airbnb‘s remarkable growth there, as well as that of high-end hotels that rely on well-heeled tourists. For instance, Havana’s brand new five-star Kempinski hotel is run by a Swiss hotel chain under a management contract with Cuba’s Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, the tourism group run by the Cuban military. Staying there could be forbidden under Trump’s revised policy that is intended to keep American dollars away from Cuba’s military.
As the Washington Post points out, the move could also help undermine the Trump hotel chain’s competitors around the world. In addition to the new Kempinski hotel, Starwood Hotels and Resorts–which merged with Marriott International–opened a hotel in Cuba last year, the first by a U.S. company in nearly 60 years. If it’s harder for American tourists to visit the island, hotel rooms could go empty–cutting into Starwood’s bottom line.
The change is also likely to have a negative effect on the Cuban people, who have been able to earn a living while hosting or aiding American travelers.
Trump’s press conference will be streaming live here at 1 p.m. ET.
[Photo: DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley]