In the first half of 2021 overnight stays reached 1,106,184, a figure much lower than the 5,839,538 of 2020, and the contraction is explained by the fact that the island has reduced international flights to a minimum as a result of COVID-19 infections and currently requires travelers to present a negative PCR, carried out at most 72 hours before arrival, a second test in the country and a seven-day quarantine.
On November 7, Cuba will eliminate the mandatory quarantine and the requirement of a negative PCR, provided that it is proven to be immunized against COVID-19 with any of the internationally approved vaccines. On November 15, when they expect to have 90% of the population vaccinated, the gradual reopening to tourism will begin, as has been published HOSTELTUR.
The graph of the National Bureau of Statistics and Information allows you to see how the pandemic has impacted the flow of international tourists. In 2019 Cuba received more than 4.2 million tourists and the goal for 2020 was to reach 4.5 million, but due to the pandemic it remained at one million, a figure that for 2021 is unthinkable.
Source: National Office of Statistics and Information.
Russia, the main issuer
In the first semester, Cuba received 72,304 tourists arriving from Russia, that is, six out of every ten international travelers did so from that country, becoming the main source market during the pandemic.
Russia began its international de-escalation in March, after a year of having closed its air borders and Cuba was one of the first destinations with which it increased frequencies. In the first semester, the 63,297 arrivals of the previous year were exceeded.
With 12,207 travelers, in second place is the Cuban community residing abroad, who arrived mainly from the United States (7,258), Spain (2,393), Mexico (658), France (473), Panama (462), Bahamas (344 ) and Germany (218). Last year, in the first semester, 106,940 non-resident Cubans had visited the island.
According to the Onei data, the third issuer of the year was Germany, which sent 4,719 tourists.
The next issuers are Spain (3,753); Canada (2,296), Philippines (2,017), Italy (1,680), United States (1,565), France (1,511), Ukraine (1,070) and the United Kingdom (1,061).
Canada has the most significant drop, going from 403,620 arrivals in the first half of 2020 to 2,296 this year, that is, just 0.6% of the 2020 volume
After the announcement of the reopening of borders, the Canadian airline Sunwing anticipated its return, so this month it has returned to Varadero with two weekly frequencies, which will increase next month.
If analyzed by region, Europe has been the main source (89,641 tourists), followed by Americas (20,037) and Asia (4,056)
The main reason for traveling to the island has been leisure, recreation and vacations (99,669 tourists), while 1,843 did so for business and professional reasons; 45 for events; and 12,903 for other reasons.
Reopening for the domestic market
On October 25, Varadero, Cayo Santamaria, Cayo Coco, and Cayo Guillermo, have opened the doors to domestic tourism and, as indicated by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, the commercialization of all open facilities will begin, including those that operate today for the international market.
And as of November 15, complying with the established protocols, “the Cuban population will be able to fully enjoy the country’s tourist offers.”
On the other hand, it is expected that before November 15, workers in the tourism sector and workers in transport, customs, immigration and aviation, will receive a booster dose against the virus