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The Arrival of Tourists to Cuba during the Month of May Drops 12.2%

turistas, turismo, Cuba

MADRID, Spain. – The arrival of tourists to Cuba this past May dropped 12.2% in comparison to the month of April. According to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI, by its Spanish acronym), 133,281 foreigners visited Cuba in April, while only 117,000 did so in May.

Economist Pedro Monreal explained through Twitter that the statistics reflect “mainly a 32% contraction in the number of visitors from Cuba’s largest tourist market (Canada)” and “this trajectory corresponds to the usual cyclical flow of tourism in Cuba.”

According to the statistics, the arrival of international travelers between January and May rose 640% in inter-annual terms with the arrival of 564,847 tourists. This number includes travelers who came to Cuba for personal as well as business reasons.

However, these statistics are far from the government’s prediction of welcoming 2.5 million tourists in 2022.

Monreal specified that, taking into consideration the 564,847 tourists, another 2 million visitors are pending if the official goal is to be attained.

The report from the National Office of Statistics and Information also indicated that in the course of this year, it’s Canadians who have most travelled to Cuba (182,733), followed by Cubans who reside abroad (121,285).

Compared to the same period in 2021, the increase in both groups reached above 1,000%.

Although the tourism sector, one of the principal sources of hard currency for Cuba, hasn’t quite yet recovered since the opening of its borders last November 15th, Cuban authorities continue to insist on reaching its goal of 2.5 million visitors in 2022.

Last March, Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, indicated that “one of the biggest challenges in the sector is the level of professionalism and the quality of the Cuban tourism product, which incentivizes personalized attention to the client and perfecting linguistic abilities.”

Cuban authorities aim to end the year 2022 with 84,906 hotel guest rooms.

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Cuba: In the Absence of Foreign Tourists, the Government Bets on the Domestic Market

Cuba, turistas, turismo, cubanos

MADRID, Spain. – The Gran Caribe Hotel Group is considering a strategy to promote domestic tourism in light of an absence of foreign visitors in the island.

According to a report by the Cuban News Agency (Agenia Cubana de Noticias, ACN by its Spanish acronym), the chain’s four hotels, located at the tourist destination Jardines del Rey: the Pullman and Meliá Cayo Coco, Iberostar Daiquirí and Starfish Cayo Guillermo, have established the objective of increasing “availability and special deals so that Cuban clients can enjoy the hotels and are satisfied with the attention they receive.”

The hotel group’s administration stated that “as part of our strategies going forward we are considering alliances with new structures adopted by the economy (micro, small and mid-size companies as well as self-employed individuals and local development projects) in order to gain access to goods and services that can take the place of imports and increase the quality of customer care.”

However, nothing is said about the costs that characterize these hotels, which are inaccessible to the average Cuban.

Gran Caribe delegate, Héctor Roura Gómez, talked about how important it is to use social networks to promote “options for the domestic market, to get to know its preferences, and determine how satisfied are the clients with the services they received.”

Carlos Rubier Pérez Mayea, assistant delegate of the Ministry of Tourism in Ciego de Ávila, pointed out that approximately 6,500 tourists visit Jardines del Rey today, about half the number of visitors (12,000) that came to the resort during the same period in previous years.

Authorities acknowledged the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Russian tourism in the island.

According to official data, 146,151 tourists from Russia arrived in Cuba in 2020, while in mid-2021, more than half of registered tourists were Russian.

The government of Havana expected that Russians would make up about 20% of international tourists that visited Cuba in 2022.

In January of this year, the statistics indicate 80% fewer tourists than in 2020. This rate is evidence that the Cuban government will not meet its goal of welcoming 2.5 million visitors in 2022.

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Approximately 185,000 Tourists Visited Cuba between January and February 2022

Turistas, Cuba, cubanos, turismo, ministro

MIAMI, United States. – Some 185,749 foreign tourists visited Cuba between January and February of this year, an increase of 522.5% over the same period in 2021, according to statistics published by the state’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI, by its Spanish acronym).

The number of international visitors during the first two months of 2022 represents 150,190 more tourists than there were during the same months in 2021, when the country’s borders remained closed as part of the government’s strategy to combat COVID-19.

According to ONEI’s report, 86,483 international visitors arrived in the country in January and 99,266 arrived in February. These numbers are still very much below those reported in the island before the start of the pandemic.

The principal countries from where tourists originated during the first two months of 2022 were, in first place, Canada with 40,821 visitors, and Russia in second place, with 35, 871 visitors.

During 2021, the Russian market was greater than the Canadian market, which had traditionally occupied first place as a source of tourists. However, Russian airline cancellations after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have reduced the numbers from the Russian market.

“This situation means that Cuba will have difficulties in trying to meet its goal of welcoming 2.5 million tourists to the island in 2022,” stated to Reuters Paolo Spadoni, an expert on the Cuban economy on the faculty of Augusta University in the state of Georgia.

“The country will not give up on its goal to welcome close to 2.5 million tourists in 2022,” said earlier this week Juan Carlos García Granda, Minister of Tourism.

“To lose the Russian market in 2022 will have a very serious negative and significant effect on the Cuban economy, particularly for the tourism industry,” added Spadoni.

The government in Havana expected that Russians would be as much as 20% of international tourists arriving in the island in 2022. However, the goals will fall short if the conflict in Ukraine continues.

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Approximately 185,000 Tourists Visited Cuba between January and February 2022

Turistas, Cuba, cubanos, turismo, ministro

MIAMI, United States. – Some 185,749 foreign tourists visited Cuba between January and February of this year, an increase of 522.5% over the same period in 2021, according to statistics published by the state’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI, by its Spanish acronym).

The number of international visitors during the first two months of 2022 represents 150,190 more tourists than there were during the same months in 2021, when the country’s borders remained closed as part of the government’s strategy to combat COVID-19.

According to ONEI’s report, 86,483 international visitors arrived in the country in January and 99,266 arrived in February. These numbers are still very much below those reported in the island before the start of the pandemic.

The principal countries from where tourists originated during the first two months of 2022 were, in first place, Canada with 40,821 visitors, and Russia in second place, with 35, 871 visitors.

During 2021, the Russian market was greater than the Canadian market, which had traditionally occupied first place as a source of tourists. However, Russian airline cancellations after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have reduced the numbers from the Russian market.

“This situation means that Cuba will have difficulties in trying to meet its goal of welcoming 2.5 million tourists to the island in 2022,” stated to Reuters Paolo Spadoni, an expert on the Cuban economy on the faculty of Augusta University in the state of Georgia.

“The country will not give up on its goal to welcome close to 2.5 million tourists in 2022,” said earlier this week Juan Carlos García Granda, Minister of Tourism.

“To lose the Russian market in 2022 will have a very serious negative and significant effect on the Cuban economy, particularly for the tourism industry,” added Spadoni.

The government in Havana expected that Russians would be as much as 20% of international tourists arriving in the island in 2022. However, the goals will fall short if the conflict in Ukraine continues.

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Cuban Government Persists on Welcoming 2.5 Million Tourists

Turistas, Cuba, cubanos, turismo, ministro

MADRID, Spain. – The Cuban government continues to bank on welcoming 2.5 million tourists this year, in spite of the fact that tourism in the island has not managed to recover since Cuba reopened its borders on November 15.

“The country will not give up ono its goal to welcome close to 2.5 million tourists in 2022,” stated Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, during the Year- on-Balance meeting at the National Hotel and Tourism Workers Labor Union (SNTHT, by its Spanish acronym) this Monday.

According to a report from the official Cuban News Agency (Agencia Cubana de Noticias, ACN, by its Spanish acronym), the minister indicated that “one of the largest challenges of this sector is the professionalism and quality of the Cuban product provided, wherein personalized attention to the client and language mastery are incentivized.”

According to García Granda, strategies have been developed to stimulate tourism from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for reigniting the European market.

The minister also indicated that, to that end, Cuba must boost “its national attributes and reflect the solidarity and idiosyncrasies typical of the Cuban people.”

He also stressed that tourism centers must optimize their sources of supplies by entering into agreements with agricultural producers and link up with micro, small and medium-size companies that provide maintenance services and facility improvements.

Despite the regime’s “optimism”, statistics for January of this year indicated 80% fewer tourists with respect to 2020. The sector’s workers themselves have expressed their preoccupation with empty hotels and beaches.

Add to it that the Russian market has plummeted as a result of flight cancellations by Russian airlines on account of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. That market is the principal source of tourists for Cuba.

Recently, Paolo Spadoni, an expert on the Cuban economy on the faculty of Augusta University in Georgia (U.S.), stated that “the loss of the Russian market in 2022 will have a very significant negative effect on the Cuban economy, and on the tourism industry in particular.”

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In 2021, Tourism to Cuba Plummeted to 95% of What Was Recorded during the Same Period in 2019

turismo cuba turistas

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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Cuban Regime Hopes to Welcome 2.2 Million Tourists during 2021

turists Cuba, COVID-19, Rusia

MIAMI, United States. – Cuba’s minister of Economy and planning, Alejandro Gil Fernandez, acknowledged in a press conference this Thursday that his government expected to welcome 2.2 million tourists during 2021. This will mean a 6% growth in the economy (after its 11% contraction in 2020).

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, during the first quarter of 202, only 48,163 visitors arrived in Cuba, a figure that casts doubt on the Cuban regime’s expectations.

The number of visitors that came to Cuba during the first quarter of 2021 was very low. Until March, only 48,163 visitors arrived, i.e., 4.9% of the number of vacationers for the same period 2020. The pandemic prevented tourism’s recovery during the first quarter,” economist Pedro Monreal noted on Twitter.

This expert economist also noted that “in 2018 and 2019, the last ‘normal’ years, the period spanning January and February was the best quarter regarding the number of visitors, which means that for 2021 we will not see the best high-season performance in tourism, even if we were to assume that some recovery occurs in the second quarter.”

In spite of this unfavorable outlook, Gil Fernandez did not specify how his government intended to reach the projected 2.2 million international visitors by the end of 2021.

On another note, according to a report by the Spanish news agency EFE, Gil Fernandez gave an opinion about the Ordering Task (Tarea Ordenamiento).

He stated that some 508 Cuban state companies had registered loses since the currency exchange and unification policies came into effect at the beginning of the year, thus ending the use of the convertible currency, the CUC.

The minister indicated that the Ordering Task revealed the real condition of many state companies, which were already operating in the red and represented losses to the State.

In contrast -he added- another 1,304 state companies have made gains since the start of the economy’s reform, which is aimed at strengthening the companies of the socialist state, although it still maintains “the will to expand” the private sector.

Gil Fernandez, who is also Cuba’s vice president, defended the measures that came into effect in January, including reform of salary and price increases as well as the withdrawal of subsidies to the population, all of which has caused a skyrocketing inflation.

He added: “It was unavoidable in aspects of the economy that were backwards, like the incentive to export; also, economic and commercial policies had to be aligned in order to reduce imports.”

He made reference, also, to the discontent that having to purchase food and staple products at hard-currency stores has generated among the people. Cubans’ salaries are paid in Cuban pesos, not hard-currency.

Add to this the fact that a lack of state liquidity has caused banks and exchange offices (Cadecas) to not sell hard currency to the population, while in the informal market, the US dollar trades at 50 Cuban pesos, twice the official exchange rate of 24 pesos per one US dollar.

Read in spanish here.

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Cuban Government Expects to Welcome 3,000 Russian Tourists per Week to Varadero

turistas rusos Varadero

MIAMI, United States. – This week, Nordwind Airlines restarted its flights between Russia and the Varadero resort in Matanzas province, joining AZUR Air and Royal Flight. Together, they are expected to bring more than 3,000 tourists per week to Cuba.

According to a press note from the Cuban News Agency, with Cubanacan at the receiving end and the Russian tour operator Pegas Touristik, “the Boeing 777, a handsome aircraft, landed on the runway of Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport with 500 visitors aboard, most of them young people and many children, which goes to show how much Cuba is trusted as a safe tourist destination,” explains the note.

“It is a challenge, at a time of a global pandemic, to organize options that meet visitors’ demands,” stated Ernesto Oliva Gonzalez, Cubanacan’s chief of operations. However, he added that the country has “the hygiene and sanitation conditions and all protocols required.”

According to this information, Cubanacan suggests to Russian tourists that they lodge in hotels of its own chain, or Gaviota and Gran Caribe hotels, “a wide program that includes boating excursions, the Nicho Waterfall in Cienfuegos, Guamá and the Zapata Swamp, as well as panoramic visits to the Hicacos Peninsula.”

For his part, Dr. Carlos Raul Perez Hernandez, chief of International Sanitation Control at the Matanzas airport, stated that “all protocols established for visitor entrance to the country are being followed, documentation is checked on the aircraft prior to disembarking, and once on the ground, all passengers go through temperature scanners and polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) is performed.”

Ever since the restart of flights on April 18, more than 2,000 tourists originating from Russia have arrived in Varadero; according to Dr. Perez Hernandez, none of them tested positive for COVID-19.

Read this text in spanish here.

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