What Will Opening the Country to Tourism Bring?

Vinales Valley. Havana Times 2016 Photo contest. Photo by Bill Klipp.

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – We are a few days away from the country opening its borders to international tourism. Hotels and tourist facilities have been undergoing renovations for weeks now. I can attest to this not only with what the press says, but with my own eyes every day when I pass by the Hotel Vuelta Bajo in the capital of Pinar del Rio.

Viñales, a prosperous town in the past, in the most far-western of the provinces, has high hopes. Hope is budding among home rental owners. Not only for them though, for private taxi, private tour guides, and other go-getters too. 

There was a lot of business moving through this tourist destination before the beginning of the Pandemic, although I admit that tourism was already dropping in this region in 2019, just as it was across the country.

People are also hopeful. Lots of people want the country to reopen, but others, regardless of the apparent efficiency of vaccines, are afraid that tourists coming will result in a new COVID-19 outbreak.

The reality is that the country will go ahead and reopen, because the regime desperately needs fresh foreign currency to come in, to breathe life back into an economy that could be classed as disastrous, even if I’m not an expert.

Life has proven that there is a limit to people’s ability to put up with hunger and all kinds of needs. Mass protests on July 11th were irrefutable proof of this and the Government knows this.

So, what can we expect with tourism kicking off again?

While the country’s economic and social problems won’t be resolved entirely, it will at least help to mitigate the effects and thereby, calm people’s unhappiness which is growing volumes by the day.

Opening up to tourism will also mean “hunt” season will begin for hustling in Cuba.  For there is a significant number of Cubans whose only life mission is to escape a land where the word “future” has been erased from the dictionary.

They have two key channels to do this: Illegal immigration or marrying a foreigner who can take them away from this hell.

The case of a friend comes to mind, who met an old Catalan man in Viñales back in 2016, when she worked as a waitress at a restaurant. She’s been receiving approximately 200 euros every month ever since then. Thanks to this, she’s managed to get by quite easily.

She was afraid to leave and live with a man she didn’t love. But she was determined and left. Once there, she was able free herself from the poor man. She didn’t want to carry on living in “the first free land in the Americas” as the slogan on our national radio station so shamelessly says, although in reality, it’s the country with the greatest dictatorship in this hemisphere.

There are many Cubans like my friend.

Well anyway, COVID cases could shoot up, the economy might make a timid recovery, and a lot, a lot of prostitution is what we can mostly expect when tourism restarts again.

Read more by Pedro Pablo Morejon here.

3 thoughts on “What Will Opening the Country to Tourism Bring?

  • Ginni McCann and her fellow Americans would be well advised to consider how to avoid any attempt by Donald J. Trump to regain power as President. For if succeeding, Trump will eradicate democracy and replace it with totalitarian rule. Even although not in power, the erosive process of removing the right to vote to be replaced by autocracy has commenced.
    I write as a small c conservative, not as a so-called progressive or socialist, but one who remembers Adolf Hitler and how the German people became pawns under his control. Hitler was narcissistic and paranoid and dictatorial, characteristics that are all too apparent in Trump.
    Concerned Americans would be well advised to consider how to free the Republican Party of the Trump muzzle and stench. Failure so to do, is the path to disaster.

  • Thanks for being so honest with your perception of the here and now. I think it’s best to be cautious as you write. It is going to take a lot of $ money to recover as the economy is suffering here in the USA too.
    Inflation rate is at 4.5% right now and could get worse as President Biden is clueless as to economics in general. For CUBA it is like treading quicksand not making much progress as you are stuck in time. I do wish CUBA well with it’s open borders again. Soo many other countries are hoping for the same as they open too. We all hope the pandemic is history as well all have suffered a lot.

  • It saddens me that, in some ways or for some people, tourists have become a necessary evil, prey for those who hunt another life. Cuba is such a beautiful land, its people deserve to be rich with happiness and opportunities. I hope that the economy begins to take an upswing after Nov. 15.

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