Resolution 132/2021, published in the extraordinary Gaceta Oficial 46, indicates that national travel agencies are the only ones authorized to carry out procedures such as the issuance, reception and service of tourists, the representation of foreign tour operators, and the design and marketing of tourist packages.
The regulation establishes that Cuban legal entities or individuals that market services “made up of groups, programs, circuits, excursions or other modalities, must do so through national travel agencies, with the exception of those authorized to do so directly,” according to the Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency.
The text also indicates that these agencies will be in charge of tourist guide hiring and servicing, the leasing and sale of airline capacities, the procedures for the extension of visas, and the selling of tourist cards.
According to the regulation, which will come into effect next month, national travel agencies will also mediate in the sale of reservations and services in all types of accommodation, transportation, insurance policies, and non-hotel services.
In the same way, they are the only ones authorized to sell phone cards, postcards, maps, and tourist guides, and they will be in charge of organizing the programs of international events and meetings that take place in Cuba, said the ACN in its report, according to which branches and representations of foreign travel agencies on the island must contract all services through national agencies, except accommodation capacities, which can be done directly.
The regulation indicates that to create an agency of this type requires the approval of the MINTUR, which will demand a description of the activity, the draft statutes, and the economic feasibility study, as part of the application.
The report, on the other hand, does not specify the nature of these agencies, if only the state agencies are considered or if agencies could be created as a cooperative or by private initiative.
So far, a group of activities for the non-state sector related to tourism is authorized, such as the rental of rooms and gastronomic and transportation services, but it is not clear if there will be new openings at least in the near future. This, despite the demands of professional sectors, such as tourist guides, to carry out their work autonomously, and the recent government measures to expand self-employment.