MIAMI, United States. – Grupo Internacional de Turoperadores y Agencias de Viajes Havanatur S.A. launched a travel lodging deal aimed at Cubans who reside in the island: Roc Barlovento, a “charming 4-star hotel” where Cuban nationals would pay 4,168 Cuban pesos for a single-night stay.
The recently-launched deal seems to meet Cuba’s prime minister’s recent announcement. Manuel Marrero Cruz stated that his government, and particularly the tourism ministry wanted to prioritize the internal tourist market due to the sacrifices that the Cuban people had made during the coronavirus pandemic.
“First, we will open up to Cuban nationals, and then on the 15th [of November] we will open up to the rest of the world. Independent of existing limitations, we want to incentivize our tourism, our people have sacrificed very much, they have been cooped up for a long time….” Marrero Cruz stated at a government reunion.
The Cuban leader, however, disregarded a recent declaration by tourism ministry delegate in Matanzas province, Ivis Fernández Peña, to the official Communist Party daily Granma, wherein she indicated that Cuban nationals who wished to vacation at the Varadero resort, whose reopening is programmed for November 15th, could do so only in a “group of hotels” earmarked for the domestic market, and not at hotel facilities reserved for foreign tourists.
Cuban nationals have the right to access all active hotel facilities, although at first and until the COVID-19 situation regulates itself, it has been considered prudent to earmark certain hotels for the domestic market,” according to the publication.
This measure has been taken presumably to reduce COVID-19 contagion. It is a reminder of former regulations that prevented Cuban nationals from staying at hotels reserved for foreigners, which were in effect until 2008, when it was repealed by Raúl Castro.
Until now, official media has not specified in which hotels Cuban nationals will be able to stay, and in which they will not.
Regardless, Matanzas authorities announced recently that starting on October 25th, Cuban nationals could visit the famous resort as long as they showed proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to access the hotels.
The tourism “deal” for Cuban nationals is priced way above the average Cuban monthly salary of 2,100 Cuban pesos. At the time of its announcement, the Canadian national chain Blue Diamond also announced inauguration of its luxury hotel Mystique Casa Perla by Royalton.
The luxuriousness of Casa Perla, which is one of 45 Blue Diamond Resorts’ properties in the Caribbean, stands in contrast with the seriousness of the situation Cubans are living through, plagued by food and medicine shortages after more than a year and a half experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together with Casa Perla’s inauguration, Gaviota S.A. Tourism Group will reopen dozens of its hotels throughout the country starting November 15th: 11 hotels in Havana, six in Varadero, 11 in the Villa Clara keys, six in the Jardines del Rey archipelago and five in Holguín.
Although the Cuban regime set tourism’s reopening for November 15, news about the arrival of several airlines –Canadian airlines in particular- to Cuba has mad evident that numerous tourism facilities reopened ahead of schedule.
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