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Cuban tourism prepares for reopening

International 20 May, 2020 Follow News

Cuba is desperate to welcome tourists again

The Cuban Ministry of Tourism has confirmed that the island’s borders will remain closed until the government indicates it, but assured that it is preparing its facilities for when the time for reopening comes.

A tourism statement said that “taking into account the current situation of this disease’s development in Cuba and in the world, the Ministry of Tourism is focused on continuous improvement of hotel and non-hotel facilities.”

In addition, it reports that it is working “on the elaboration of hygiene and sanitary protocols, to face the restart of tourist activities.”

Tourism is a vital source of income for Cuba, which since before the spread of COVID-19 was already going through a complex economic situation aggravated by the embargo and the new US sanctions, several of them focused on the tourism sector, such as the prohibition of cruises and the restriction of flights to the island from the United States.

For this year, Cuba had hoped to receive 4.5 million international visitors and reverse the 9.3 percent drop it reported in 2019, when 4.2 million tourists travelled to the country, 436,352 fewer than in 2018.

However, due to the pandemic, the island restricted the entry of travellers on March 24, allowing only the entry of residents, and on April 2 it closed its borders entirely except for merchandise traffic and exceptional cases such as the departure of repatriation flights of foreigners or medical missions, a measure that remains in force.

Even so, several airlines reported this week that they would reopen the sale of tickets to Cuba starting in July, but the island’s government has not announced a reopening date, nor has it announced the extension of the border closings, which was initially scheduled until the end of April but has remained in effect to date.

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