Travel media company Skift has published an article co-written by Marc Frank stating that Cuba is slowly opening its main cities to tourism following the opening of beach resorts in November, on account of the encouraging COVID-19 protocols in place. Read on and get the details.
According to Skift, Cuba is opening up its main cities like Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos to tourists following successful protocols put in place on the island's beaches.
It's hoped that by opening up the cities to holidaymakers, the economy will gain a much-needed boost as tourists will start spending money in the capital's "paladares" (restaurants), hotels and "casas particulares" (bed & breakfasts).
"Around 1,000 visitors are entering the country daily, the majority bound for resorts where COVID-19 protocols have proved effective, but a trickle heading to the Cuban capital, some after visiting the beach."
Noted a comment cited by the Skift article from Francisco Duran, head of epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba.
How has Cuba coped with Coronavirus?
Very few places around the world have coped so well with the Coronavirus pandemic as Cuba. In a population of 11.2 million, there have been just 148 deaths. The Cuban government has been proactive in putting protocols in place and as a result, the Caribbean island has not suffered the stark figures seen elsewhere around the world.
However, Cuba has suffered in other ways. Cuba depends heavily on tourism, which represented about a tenth of its gross domestic product in 2019. As a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions around the world, its economy suffered an 11% decline in 2020.
Even so, during the pandemic, Cuba reported a million tourists throughout 2020, and the government hopes to double that in 2021. But that is still a far cry from the more than four million arrivals in 2019.
What's the process upon arrival?
Visitors to the country undergo a COVID-19 test at the airport and then again in five days unless they are staying at a hotel under the watch of a doctor-nurse team.
What's more, starting from 10th January, all tourists will need a PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival to Cuba.
All travellers lodged at hotels in cities are expected to stay on the premises until the airport test proves negative, and if staying in private homes, to remain inside until receiving the five-day test's result as well.
In addition to these safety precautions, the Cuban tourism industry has taken measures to make the tourists' stay even simpler before departure too. Travellers residing in hotels can now take the second PCR test from their own lodgings without organising trips to testing centres and medical establishments.
Aside from having a world-class health system, Cuba is really pulling out the stops to provide an unrivalled tourism experience too.
A slow trickle becoming a steady stream
Cubans who are working in the travel and tourism industry do confirm that despite fewer people, they are slowly seeing an increase.
As Cuba has coped so well with a virus that has ravaged the world, there is some optimism that holidaymakers from Europe, Canada, the United States and further afield will see this Caribbean island as the "go-to" travel destination of late Winter and Spring 2021.
What's more, even the feedback from the tourists is positive. Two British tourists staying at the prestigious Varadero Beach resort underlined the sense of safety they felt, specifically praising the measures put in place to protect everybody.