MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – More U.S. travel companies are getting permits to take Americans on cultural trips to Cuba.
Earlier this year travel companies reported delays in processing their so-called people-to-people licenses for legal group travel to Cuba. The delays were the result of the government tightening requirements after it received some complaints that the tours were skirting a ban on outright tourism to the Communist island.
The travel industry said at least 20 new permits have been granted in the last month.
Travel operators say they have kept most of their itineraries intact, but some have added additional programming and eliminated others after Florida’s Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the programs as essentially being cover-ups for tourism.
The Obama administration reinstituted the licenses over a year ago, allowing organizations to take U.S. citizens to the forbidden island for educational activities that promote contact with ordinary Cubans.