Cuba reopens its doors to foreigners this Monday – Tourism & Leisure


This Monday, Cuba reopens the doors to foreign tourism, seeking to boost the economy, experiencing the biggest crisis in three decades due to the impact of the pandemic, the strengthening of the US embargo and ineffective management.

The long-awaited reopening coincides with the commemoration of the 502nd anniversary of the capital, Havana, with the return to 1st cycle classes and the call for a civic protest march by the Archipiélago platform, which seeks to change the political scenario on the island.

The process of decelerating the most restrictive measures was applied in the country, within the scope of the new coronavirus pandemic, by the authorities responsible for the massive vaccination program against covid-19, which foresees the immunization of 90% of the Cuban population by the end of the month.

With a sustained trend towards a reduction in infections and deaths caused by covid-19 after a strong outbreak since the beginning of the year, the country has, in recent weeks, resumed public transport services, hotels, gastronomy, a large part of cultural activities and rental of residences private individuals. Furthermore, students are progressively resuming classes.

Cuba reopens its borders without restrictions on Monday with the relaxation of measures established for the most complicated epidemiological scenario of the pandemic and with the objective of reversing the fall in the tourist sector, the second source of foreign exchange for its impoverished economy.

As of Monday, all passengers who have received a vaccine recognized by the health authorities of their country of origin and who are under 12 years old will be able to enter the country without having to submit a negative test or undergo quarantine.

Unvaccinated travelers will be required to have a negative PCR test or an antigen test from a certified laboratory in the country of origin carried out within 72 hours of arrival in Cuba.

According to Cuban health authorities, if a traveler exhibits “signs and symptoms of covid-19 or another communicable disease” he will be sent to a health institution to be diagnosed.

Sanitary measures for reopening exempt children under 12, regardless of nationality, from taking a vaccination test or a PCR test on arrival.

The temperature measurement of all travelers entering and leaving the country, the mandatory use of mask and hand sanitizers, as well as the presentation of the covid-19 medical insurance, remain in force.

At the same time, and according to estimates by the Ministry of Transport, a gradual increase in air operations at the island’s 10 international airports is expected, going from the current 63 weekly flights to 400 at the end of the month.

In the immediate term, 147 flights are expected to arrive to various cities in Cuba, from the United States, where the largest community of Cuban emigrants abroad resides, and of this total, 77 will be destined for the José Martí International Airport, in Havana.

The archipelago’s maritime borders are also scheduled to rehabilitate their terminals to resume the arrival of cruises in December.

In April 2020, the country suspended commercial and charter flights to stop the advance of the new coronavirus, having reopened airports in October, but with a drastic reduction in flights, limited to those from the United States, Mexico, Panama, Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Cuban authorities expect to receive more than 100,000 foreign tourists by the end of the year.

Before the arrival of covid in Cuba, in March 2020, tourism represented 10% of the Cuban Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and ranked second in importance to the economy, just behind professional services.

Projections of receiving around 4.5 million foreign visitors in 2020 and reversing the 9.3% drop seen in 2019, when 4.2 million tourists headed to the country, disappeared with the pandemic. In the first half of 2021, only 114,460 foreign tourists traveled to Cuba, 88% less than in the same period of the previous year.

In this last phase, Russian tourism was the most frequent, followed by Cubans living in other countries, Germans, Spanish and Canadians.

The sector’s contraction over the past year and a half has been used to recover and remodel facilities and also to build new hotels in Havana and in the eastern provinces of Holguin and Varadero, Cuba’s main sun and beach destination.

Thus, to the hotel offer of 70 thousand beds will be added at the reopening another four thousand, and the government plans to point out that by 2030 the island will have more than 103 thousand beds.


Source: Jornal de Negócios by www.jornaldenegocios.pt.

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