MIAMI, United States. – The coronavirus pandemic has considerably shrunk the tourism sector in Cuba. There is still no light at the end of this tunnel, the worse economic and health crisis that has been experienced in the country, and which, until August of this year, is responsible for the lowest number of foreign visitors recorded in recent years.
According to facts given this Thursday on the official television program Mesa Redonda, up until last August 31, only 163,743 international visitors arrived in Cuba, a number that is 2,960,000 less than for the same period in 2019 –the year previous to the pandemic- and 824,000 less than for the same period 2020.
These figures were made public by Cuba’s minister of Tourism, Carlos García Granda, who reminded the audience that, “in 2019, we closed the year with 4.2 million foreign visitors. This year we had projected objectively to welcome 5 million international tourists, although the plan called for 4.7 million.”
During his participation in the televised program, the regime official blamed the U.S. Embargo for the decline in the tourism sector even before the start of the pandemic, due to an increase in sanctions against the communist government in Havana in 2019.
According to García Granda, the start of the pandemic meant a “hard blow” to the tourism sector. Since the pandemic started, to date, “we have only been able to operate in facilities located in Cayo Coco, Varadero and Havana, all of which have continued to welcome visitors, emigres and many business people.”
Early this week, the government in Havana announced that it would gradually begin to open its borders starting November 15, “keeping in mind how the vaccination process has progressed in Cuba, its proven effectiveness and the prospect of having more than 90% of the population fully vaccinated by November.”
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