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NTA Teams with Congressman Farr, USTOA, WOLA in NY Media Blitz on Opening Cuba

September 24, 2009


NTA Teams with Congressman Farr, USTOA, WOLA in NY Media Blitz on Opening Cuba

LEXINGTON, Ky.- NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP, joined Congressman Sam Farr, D-California, and other partners supporting the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act for a Sept. 21 New York media blitz.

Farr and Simon were joined by USTOA President Bob Whitley, and Geoff Thale and Angelica Salazar with the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights organization supporting normal relations with Cuba, including the lifting of the travel ban. The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (HR 874, S 428) was introduced on Feb. 4, in the Senate and on Feb. 12, in the House of Representatives. Its passage would allow Americans to legally travel to Cuba.

In the interviews, Simon said that NTA supports the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act because Americans should have the freedom to travel to all destinations. Cuba is currently the only country Americans are banned from visiting. Because Cuba is a new destination that is very intriguing to travelers, tour operators will have the boost of new product to offer.

Farr called the opening of Cuba a "shovel-ready project," referring to the fact that once the travel restrictions are lifted there will be an economic boost "because we can immediately put people to work." When asked when he felt the ban would be lifted, Farr said he felt it could be done this year. He pointed to the collaboration of the Sept. 21 media trip as a positive sign, saying it’s significant that the travel community, the lawmaker and the human rights equation were joining forces to advocate for opening Cuba as a destination.

The group held interviews and meetings with editors and journalists from Travel Weekly, Performance Media Group and Travel Agent, as well as Bloomberg news (national news conglomerate), Travel+Leisure (national consumer magazine), El Diario (New York-based Spanish-language daily newspaper), and NY1 (New York television).

The National Tour Association is the preferred association in the tourism industry for packaged travel professionals. NTA strives to provide value for its members by advancing the packaged travel industry through its advocacy efforts and progressive leadership. Connecting its members through business development, government relations, professional development and research, NTA has remained committed to serving its members with integrity and quality service since its founding in 1951. Today, the NTA membership represents 48 countries, and includes tour and travel packagers of all types. To learn more about the most important destination for packaged travel professionals, please visit   

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