MEXICO CITY — There are the people who want to honeymoon on the same beaches their grandparents did decades ago. Those who want to extend their Florida vacations with a quick jaunt to the island 90 miles south. Those who want to buy the Havana Club rum and the hand-rolled cigars and to see the mid-century jalopies before they disappear. And they want to go today.

“The response in our office has been overwhelming,” said Tom Popper, the president of Insight Cuba, an organization that has been running tours legally to Cuba since 2000. “We’re flooded. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

President Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement of his intention to normalize relations with Cuba and end the Cold War-era standoff has generated massive interest among Americans eager to see the Caribbean island for themselves, according to travel industry professionals. But the regulations that restrict those trips to small-group educational and cultural exchanges are still in place, and it is not clear that they will change dramatically. While it may become easier to join a tour focused on cultural or educational themes, Americans will probably not be able to simply go sip rum in the sunshine.

“There is some lack of clarity of what it will mean,” said Bob Guild, vice president of Marazul Charters, a Miami-based travel agency for Cuba tours.

Under the embargo, intended to block American money from reaching the Communist Castro regime, most U.S. visitors can only legally travel to Cuba under a license granted for one of 12 reasons, codified by Congress in 1996.

Each year, about 3 million tourists visit Cuba, led by Canadians drawn to the country by discount tour packages. Some half a million Americans visited Cuba last year, but the bulk of those were Cuban-Americans, who are allowed to visit close relatives on the island without restrictions. Companies seeking to operate tours for people without Cuban heritage may have to provide hundreds of pages of documentation and wait several months to get licenses from the Treasury Department.

The Obama administration now plans to create a general license covering these 12 categories, which tour operators hope will cut down on bureaucracy and ultimately allow more Americans to visit. Travel companies expect that tourists may be able to operate on an honor system, in which they can claim their visits are “purposeful” without having to prove it.

Under the changes outlined, though, American resort or hotel chains won’t be allowed to move in to the island any time soon. Solo tourists simply out for fun would still not be allowed to travel legally to Cuba.

If the U.S. government isn’t throwing open the floodgates to Cuban tourism, the Communist-ruled nation may not be ready for it either. The country is short of hotel rooms, taxi cabs, tour buses, airport gates, rental cars. The main terminal at Havana’s international airport has just four baggage carousels, and lines to get through security can back up so far that flights get delayed as a result.