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ASTA becomes founding member of Engage Cuba

ASTA becomes founding member of Engage Cuba

In an effort to generate support from American businesses and nonprofit groups to reform US travel and trade restrictions with Cuba, the American Society of Travel Agents became a founding member of the Engage Cuba coalition, launched Tuesday.

The group is now airing advertisements on major networks such as CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC to gain support for overturning the 54-year-old law that restricts travel by Americans to Cuba.

'The benefits of increased engagement actually go beyond the shores of Cuba,' ASTA president and ceo Zane Kerby said. 'We believe lifting the travel ban will bring economic benefits to Cuba's neighbors as well, and the travel industry that serves them by generating demand for new passenger routes, tours and travel agent services.'

Engage Cuba coalition members include the National Foreign Trade Council, National Association of Manufacturers, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Council of the Americas. Plus, civil society organizations affiliated with Engage Cuba include Third Way, #CubaNow, Cuba Study Group and the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

Leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cargill, Choice Hotels and The Havana Group are among a few of the private sector institutions that share ASTA's goal in lifting the Cuba travel ban.

All told, ASTA estimates at least two million additional Americans could visit Cuba by 2017 if Congress votes for a full lifting of travel restrictions before the end of this year.

'ASTA has long believed that Americans ought to be allowed to travel across the globe without restriction, allowing them to act as ambassadors of freedom and American values abroad, and our work with Engage Cuba will bring that goal within reach,' Kerby said.

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