Mar 24, 2020 by



Cuban Prime Minister Manual Marrero clarified that Cuba would begin regulating the entrance of people (not closing its borders) on March 24th.

On March 20th, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced that Cuba has decided to regulate its borders effective Tuesday, March 24th. due to the Coronavirus. No foreign visitors will be allowed entry for at least one month. Hotels will mainly be closed. Cubans and foreign residents of Cuba will be allowed entrance but will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days. Commerce will continue. There are 60,000 tourists in Cuba now who will be returning to their homes as quickly as possible. The Ministry of Public Health confirmed 21 coronavirus cases – 10 of those foreigners – with 716 people hospitalized on suspicion of having the disease. One of the first cases reported – an Italian tourist – became the first fatality last week.


On March 19th, the U.S. State Department had raised its Global Health Advisory to Level 4 or “do not travel” abroad (to any country).  Canada-the main sender of tourists to Cuba-had done the same.


Travel organizations and tour operators have been suspending their programs throughout the world-including their programs to Cuba because of the Coronavirus. Despite Cuba’s superb public health system, reactionary authorities in Florida are still attempting to use the pandemic as an excuse to cancel all flights between our two countries.  Please contact RESPECT for the latest status on travel to Cuba.”


Thanks so much to all of you who have worked to ensure that the dialogue on Cuba goes forward with urgency.  Like you, we are not sure what the future holds. The RESPECT team looks forward to the November Conference.  The following is a brief update that can be shared with conference attendees.

Mission Statement

RESPECT (Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel) is a U.S. professional association uniting nonprofit entities, travel agents, tour operators and other travel service providers dedicated to practicing and promoting ethical and socially responsible travel to Cuba.

We are including a bullet point update on RESPECT since the 1st RESPECT conference that was held in 2017.  RESPECT currently has 117 organizational members and 44 individual  members.


The RESPECT administrative team includes:

Bob Guild- Marazul Tours *

Gail Walker-IFCO/Pastors for Peace*

Andrea Holbrook-Holbrook Travel *

Nesbit Crutchfield-Health Professional Community Organizer*

Sharon Wrobel-ProximityCuba *

Walter Turner-Global Exchange *

*organizations are listed for identification

-RESPECT has completed the forms and filing documentation and is now a 501C3 nonprofit organization and a 501C6 nonprofit organization.  A 501(c)3 is a nonprofit charity organization that allows for its donors to take tax deductions for contributions of cash and other assets.

As a 501(c)6 nonprofit tax-exempt organization RESPECT is operated as a common business interest to improve conditions in the travel industry to Cuba. RESPECT 501(c)6 Is an industry trade organization that is allowed a wide range of lobby activities on behalf of the travel industry to Cuba.



“Support for the Cuban People’ had supplanted the ‘people to people’ as the category under which most group and individual travel had taken place. No advance permission was required.  Each traveler needed a full-time schedule which ‘enhances contact with the Cuban people, supports civil society’ and ‘results in meaningful interaction with the Cuban people’ (all similar to the people to people educational exchange category).

All other legal categories of travel remain the same as they were under President Obama, including:

            Visiting relatives; travel for educational activities by academic institutions (including high schools, professors and students; travel by journalists including freelancers; travel for ‘professional research’; travel by foundations, non-profits, research or educational institutes with an established interest in international relations; religious activities,; humanitarian projects; and others!

The regulations themselves, changed and amended over the years, are not printed clearly in any one place and cause much confusion. Mayra Alonso from Marazul Tours has put them all together and we have attached them.* These guidelines and the Questions and Answers provided by OFAC are the only ‘official’ descriptions of the travel categories and we do not suggest making up further ‘guidelines’ on your own to make them any worse than they already are.

Next Steps and Strategies for RESPECT


Finalizing the RESPECT Administrative team

Expanding group and individual membership of RESPECT.

Preparing for the November Conference.



Link to RESPECT Principles


Link to Travel Categories



Contact RESPECT:


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