Cuba is open to foreign tourism

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Cuba is open to foreign tourism
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6 October 2020
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Cuban authorities will open Varadero beach to foreign tourism next October 15th. This is a vital destination for the sector, at a time in which a “new normalcy” is sought in reference to the control of COVID-19.

The announcement of Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism coincided with favorable statistics of the pandemic.

Last Sunday, 29 new COVID-19-related cases were reported with 4,942 inpatients or housed in isolation facilities under epidemiological surveillance, and 540 individuals testing positive for COVID-19.

The government, looking to boost the hardly hit national economy with one of its most profitable sectors, the tourism industry, has loosened up restrictive measures in Havana, whose “normalcy” is unpredictable for a full resume of activities. Four days after the approval of these new measures, the city — which has been the island epicenter from late July — reported 12 out of the 29 patients infected with COVID-19 in the past few hours.

With 15 new patients testing positive for COVID-19, 11 in Sancti Spiritus and 4 in Ciego de Avila, everything suggests that the center of the island may be now the epicenter of the pandemic in Cuba.

Varadero is located 68 miles east of Havana and has its own airport nearby. Nonetheless, it is closely related to the Cuban capital with the arrival of foreign tourists via highways.

Varadero’s international airport “is ready to resume all flight operations and biosecurity protocols are set to welcome visitors,” according to reports.

Right now, the beach provides partial opening.

Clients will be accommodated, for the time being, in four, five-stars hotels offering boat trips, nature tours and other outdoor activities within the safe zone.

Special, preventive health measures will be in place by high-skilled professionals. Tourists will only pay with credit cards. This measure is meant to avoid cash handling.

Tourism is paramount in Cuban economy

The Cuban economy is in trouble due to coronavirus. Donald Trump’s administration has tightened up a trade embargo that has long been in effect and now hunts all sources of foreign exchange of the island.

Washington also sanctioned tankers’ companies delivering oil to Cuba from Venezuela and commercial flights Cuba-US dropped substantially.

Last months, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the cancellation of charter flights.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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