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Study: Cuba Travel a Benefit to U.S. Economy

July 15, 2002|Reuters

Lifting the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba would boost the U.S. economy by as much as $1.6 billion annually and create up to 23,000 jobs each year, according to a study to be released today.

The report, conducted by consulting firm Brattle Group, analyzed the economic effect of the United States' lifting the travel restrictions.

The study's release coincides with a renewed effort this week by members of the House to lift the travel ban.

About 3 million Americans would visit Cuba each year if travel restrictions to Cuba were eliminated, the study said.

Demand for U.S. air travel to Cuba would rise, boosting profits of American airlines by as much as $415 million a year, said Dorothy Robyn, an economic consultant for Brattle Group.

If the travel ban were lifted, more than 15,000 new jobs would be created in the airline industry, and about 7,000 jobs would open up in the cruise industry annually, the study said.

The study was funded by the Center for International Policy, a nonprofit group that wants the U.S. to lift the travel ban and to end the 40-year-old trade embargo with the Communist-ruled island nation.

Some House lawmakers are expected to offer an amendment to the Treasury Department's annual spending bill this week that would cut funding used by the department's Office of Foreign Asset Control to enforce the travel embargo.

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