Last updated: 10:41 AM ET, Fri October 28 2016

TripAdvisor Cleared to Offer Travel Services to Cuba

Destination & Tourism Patrick Clarke October 28, 2016

TripAdvisor Cleared to Offer Travel Services to Cuba

PHOTO: Havana, Cuba. (Photo via Flickr/Artur Staszewski) 

TripAdvisor has received the green light to book travelers to Cuba.

The Needham, Massachusetts-based travel website confirmed Thursday that it has received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) allowing it to provide and sell travel-related services to Cuba to travelers from around the globe.

The license means that, effective immediately, TripAdvisor can book both U.S. and non-U.S. travelers to Cuba.

The site is permitted to facilitate travel to the Caribbean nation through its booking platform for hotels and its hotel price comparison search. TripAdvisor can also display advertising to promote travel to Cuba and book flights, cultural tours, attractioins and short-term rentals.

When booking U.S. travelers, TripAdvisor can provide and sell travel that qualifies under one of several approved categories, including family visits, journalistic activity and professional research, among others.

The travel site said it expects to begin cultural travel-related sales to Cuba in the coming months.

"Cuba continues to be one of the only countries in the world where the United States imposes significant travel restrictions. We applaud President Obama’s policies to ease these restrictions and build relations with our island neighbor just 90 miles south of Florida," TripAdvisor president and CEO Stephen Kaufer said in a statement accompanying Thursday's announcement. 

"TripAdvisor looks forward to helping travelers all over the world discover Cuba’s vibrant history, people and culture as we begin the important work to make these trips possible."

In his own statement, TripAdvisor's senior vice president, general counsel and secretary Seth Kalvert described the news as "exciting and historic" and urged Congress to grant "U.S. citizens the unrestricted freedom to travel to Cuba."