updated 3/24/2010 4:49:07 PM ET 2010-03-24T20:49:07

U.S. travel specialists are meeting with their Cuban counterparts, preparing for what they hope will be the day that Americans can freely vacation on Cuba's sunny beaches.

A 1962 travel ban sharply restricts visits by U.S. citizens to the communist-governed island. The law requires U.S. government permission to spend any money there.

President Barack Obama has indicated interest in easing restrictions, as he already has for Cuban Americans traveling to the island — but in exchange for human rights improvements.

Cuban officials say 2.4 million tourists, including about 41,000 Americans, visited last year. They anticipate 1.7 million Americans would come if restrictions were lifted.

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