Friends in Varadero. Photo: Cheril LeBlanc

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s most important tourist beaches on Thursday reopened to international visitors in Varadero. The government hopes to reactivate a key economic sector after a nearly six-month closure, reports dpa news.

Regular and charter flights are authorized to all of Cuba’s international airports except for Havana. Flights to the capital will remain closed at least until October 31.

On that date, the airline company Condor is due to launch three weekly flights to Varadero.

Authorities say foreign visitors will be tested for the coronavirus and that hotels will have medical staff.

Tourism contributes about 10% of Cuba’s GDP and employs some 500,000 people in the state tourism sector. Most hotels are owned by the military conglomerate.

In 2019, the number of tourists coming to the island dropped by 9 per cent, to about 4.2 million people, due partly to US restrictions on visits by its citizens.

The Cuban Health Ministry says it has recorded 6,062 coronavirus infections and 123 deaths.

Upon relaxing the initially tough restrictions, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said Cubans must “learn to live with the virus.”

Read more news and features from Cuba here.


5 thoughts on “Cuba Reopens Varadero Beaches to Tourists

  • In response to Moses (see below), I am assured that I will be able to travel to our home even if arriving at Juan Gomez at Varadero and continuing to our home by taxi particular, and I travel on a tourist visa – which is then extended.

  • One other detail not included in this article: It remains unclear if tourists who traveled directly to Varadero from outside of Cuba will be allowed to travel outside of Varadero once they arrive in Cuba.

  • Unfortunately this article is short on details , specifically when Casa Particular’s will open in Varadero. We live in the Cuban community when we winter in Varadero. Like everyone, our winter plans are up in the air for 2020-21. If the Casa Particulars do open, food will be an issue. Here’s hoping.

  • It is good news that Cuba is opening up mainland airports, – but notably not Jose Marti. There are however several other “buts”. The first is that they really restrict or deny entry from countries where Covid 19 is rampant, that obviously includes the UK and US. Secondly, that they insist – as is currently the system in Canada, that all passengers on aircraft have temperatures checked prior to boarding Canadians form the largest single market for Cuba’s tourism industry, but those who now travel, will have to accept 14 days isolation upon return to Canada, a marked deterrent. Only very specific groups of non-Canadian passport holders are permitted entry into Canada – including for example spouses of Canadians. It will be a hard struggle to regain even a modest portion of the former market.
    Obviously, the lack of revenue has compelled Cuba to open, and it is significant that Diaz-Canel has said that Cubans “must learn to live with the virus”.
    One wonders when vaccine(s) will be available. Following much bahoo, the Russian claims of success have subsided – Venezuela please note! It is apparent that most governments are now endeavoring to limit infections in the hope that vaccines will eventually become available.

  • Thank you for using my photo for your story.

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