By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)
HAVANA TIMES – Unforgettable were those televised declarations of the head of marketing of the Ministry of Tourism who said, in full development of the pandemic, that we were not closed. She noted that under the individual responsibility, the visitor could reach the Island, that we had an efficient health system ready to assimilate passengers fleeing from the virus.
Of course, at that point, it was already a matter of contention between supporters of continuing business as usual and those responsible for Public Health who advocated putting a STOP light at both ends of our airstrips and ports.
After more than two months, there may well be indications of resting elbows on the table, except that this time the referee is calculating with extreme fairness the moment in which a floral artist places a colorful arrangement on a hotel reception desk.
Personally, I think that the start will be around July, in the northern keys of the Island. A knowledgeable friend mentioned another option I hadn’t thought about: he said another possibility would be a moderate start also with national tourism, with reasonable prices and, likewise, modest culinary offers, since hotels have emptied their pantries in favor of bringing the food to the domestic market.
An element to assess is the number of airlines that, as in an organized queue, are requesting or “marking” for their respective landing permit, at a time when the threat and the effects of the epidemic lessen.
There is a great need for tourism that, although it will not escape the global depression that lies ahead, will always be an option for those who want to and can ($) come.
That is what we are in, in the preparations. The two most vocal voices of the moment have said it, which are none other than those of the President and the Prime Minister, without sacrificing the “epidemiological masses” offered daily by Dr. Durán at 9 in the morning, a previously anonymous specialist who has become one more member of the Cuban family.
“The data confirms the possible control” of the epidemic, Dr. Durán has just reported. But then he added that it was “the most dangerous moment”, taking into account what happened in other nations that, having a similar situation, “dropped their guard” and the cases increased.
Translated into colloquial language, slow the step there’s a precipice. If the Caribbean neighbor-competitors in the area open first, there will be fewer visitors to receive in Cuba, but we will achieve greater safety. Remember that caution always pays double.
In any case, this dilemma of when to open will find supporters on both sides. And hopefully common sense prevails, also lacking on many non-tourist roads in this country.