AREQUIPA, Peru. – Spanish airline World2Fly opened a new route from Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, to the Abel Santamaría International Airport in Santa Clara, Cuba.
A report transmitted by the state radio station Radio Taíno indicates that the new route will have a once-per-week frequency, every Tuesday. It seeks to expand tourism to Cuba in the European market. The flights will carry up to 450 passengers.
In June, the airline also renewed its flights between Lisbon and Varadero. The first such flight arrived at the Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport with 430 passengers.
Juan Carlos Martínez Nordelo, World2Fly supervisor, said to the Cuban News Agency (ACN, by its Spanish acronym) that the airline “makes possible, through the airfield in Matanzas province, the arrival, from Lisbon, of tourists interested in learning more about the largest island in the Antilles.”
That notwithstanding, the Cuba destination occupies last place in the recovery of the tourism sector in the Caribbean, according to the European company Forwardkeys, the main provider of statistics in the world on travel.
Through its ranking system, the company analyzed the conduct of tourism following the COVID-19 pandemic, and ranked Cuba in 28th place, last on the list.
Statistics show that the arrival of international travelers to Cuba between January and September 2023 fell 45% when compared to the same period in 2019. Forecasts for the last quarter of this year do not project any considerable improvement. In fact, confirmed flights up to October 1st showed a drop of 41%.
Several Cuban economists warned months ago that the food, public health and fuel crisis that the island is facing would make it almost impossible for tourism to recover to the levels from before the pandemic.
“The economy’s complex situation affects tourism because, for instance, a tourist needs to rent a car to get around in the country, but he has no fuel, or sometimes, a five-star hotel lacks the necessary supplies,” said Cuban professor Omar Everleny to the Spanish news agency EFE.
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