Cuba’s Tourist Industry Seeks Russians to Replace Canadians

Cuba’s vice minister of tourism, Maria del Carmen Orellana at the tourism fair in Moscow. Photo: Prensa Latina

HAVANA TIMES – For decades Canada has been the leading sender of vacationers to Cuba, ahead of Europeans, the US and Latin Americans. Before the pandemic Cuba received over a million Canadians a year. Today, with flight restrictions do to Covid-19, the only country actually increasing its sending of tourists to the island is Russia.

Tourist agencies from Russia book trips mainly to the beach resorts of Varadero and Cayo Coco and seem little concerned about Cuba facing its worst spike of Covid cases and deaths this summer.

Not wanting to lose the hard currency revenue from another high season (November to April) the Cuban authorities promise to be more flexible about health protocols for Russians planning to vacation on the island, noted Diario de Cuba.

The state news agency Prensa Latina reported on a delegation currently attending a tourism fair in Moscow to promote the coming season.

According to PL, the vice minister of tourism, Maria del Carmen Orellana, participates in the event and said her goal is to “contract a good winter season in the Russian market.”  To do so she is meeting with tour operators, businesspeople, tourist agencies, airline representatives and state institutions related to the industry.

Juan Carlos Escalona, the Cuban tourism attaché in the island’s Moscow embassy said: “despite the limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, at this time the Russian market is the leading sender of vacationers to Cuba having sent over 100,000 already this year.”

Diario de Cuba noted that to make it easier for the tourists the Cuban officials will not require a negative PCR test to enter the country and will recognize traveler’s vaccination certificates.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

6 thoughts on “Cuba’s Tourist Industry Seeks Russians to Replace Canadians

  • Aseres they dont have jineteras and toleteros in Rusia? That’s all you will find in Cuba, because no food, no anything.

  • The Russian economy, like most national economies around the world has suffered setbacks owed to the pandemic. For Canadians, a Cuban vacation involves a 6 or 7 hour flight south at a price accessible for most middle-class sun-seekers. For Russians, traveling to Cuba takes an entire day and is generally at a price point only well off Russians can afford. Obviously, Cuban tourism officials have no choice but to pursue Russian tourists. But there will likely not be a one for one exchange of Russians for Canadians. Once again, as the Cuban saying goes, either Cubans do too much or they do too little. In this case, way too little.

  • Stephen, it just so happens that I at one time actually negotiated the MEXSAWP programme under which Mexicans spent several months working on Canadian vegetable producing farms. Those employed were skilled and experienced. Negotiations included not only government representation, but that of the Mexican Farm Union and Canadian producers. The current Cuban agricultural system and government, do not lend themselves towards such a programme. Although MEXSAWP included airfares, many of those employed, purchased used trucks and drove back to Mexico, with whom both Canada and the US have a trading agreement. The purpose of the programme being to aid Canadian producers unable to find a supply of Canadian employees. Many of the Mexicans returned to the same employer year after year – but they always went home! What percentage of Cuban temporary employees would similarly return home?

  • Cuba is basically, “for sale” to the highest bidder.

  • Most Russian can spend like those from Canada and covid is much worse in Russia a truck mechinic make $359 cd per week in Ont Canada $1,950 cd per week same for others. Cuba needs to make a deal to have Canada use labour from Cuba on farms and food processing in Canada and crop half the land.

  • It has been interesting watching the daily reports upon Covid and levels of infection in Cuba by Dr, Duran. One notable feature has been the inclusion of infected non-Cubans, where the Russians have dominated. It appears that whereas Canadians and others must comply with regulations regarding PCR tests and isolation, Russians have carte blanche to do as they please without restraint. Such are the benefits of being “comrades”. One can only hope (speculate) that the Russian tourists are as generous as the Canadians in giving tips and gifts to Cubans. Maybe in due course the Chinese tourists will outnumber the Russians. Good luck!

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