New normal fase in Cuba

Czech Republic, October 20th, 2020. - “All airports open for commercial flights, except Havana” / since 19.10.2020

Regarding international mobility, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila Minister of Transport of Cuba, pointed out that all international airports are already open for commercial flights, except the Havana airport, which will remain limited to humanitarian and cargo flights for the time being, and the Cayo Coco airport, open only for tourism based on the current situation in the province of Ciego de Ávila.

“For open airports, the entry and exit of Cubans and foreign residents and non-residents in the national territory is allowed. The restrictions existing until now are eliminated. All operations will be carried out under strict sanitary protocols. 100% of the passengers will receive a PCR test upon arrival”, she specified.

Now - he clarified - comes a period in which the airlines will contact the aeronautical authorities and the details will be specified. It will be a gradual process because, in fact, aviation has not fully recovered internationally.

"People who had purchased tickets or those who intend to travel should contact the airlines to specify their options. The limitation of luggage of up to two pieces in the hold, up to 32 kg each, is ratified, another measure adopted to speed up movements at airports”.

Airport transportation services are restored, as people will no longer be transferred to isolation centers.

As international mobility is enabled by air, the prohibition of entry and stay in our territorial waters of pleasure boats is also without effect. Likewise, as of October 19, the possibility of receiving cruises opens. In both cases, the approved health protocols will be followed.

Cuba resumes operations with international tourism

The arrival of almost all of the country's provinces to the stage of new normality enables the reactivation of tourist activities, both for the domestic market and for international tourism, complying with the hygienic-sanitary measures that guarantee the safety of customers and workers.

This was reaffirmed by the Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, when he began his speech in the radio and television space, where he reported on the resumption of international tourism operations in all destinations declared a “New Normal.”

The Minister explained that the opening of tourist facilities will be gradual, according to the demand and reaction of traditional destinations, and that the Cuban tourism and travel sector is already in contact with the airlines.

The airlines –announced García Granda– will be able to sell “only flights” (individual tourism) for the open airports, with the exception of the Cayo Coco airport, which will continue working as it has been until now, as Ciego de Ávila is in the autochthonous transmission phase.

The protocols designed establish that, upon arrival at the airports, all travelers will be received by health personnel, a PCR will be carried out, the cost of which will be assumed by the Ministry of Tourism, and they must fill out the health declaration.

The minister pointed out that foreign vacationers will be able to stay in private rental houses, in all territories that are in a new normality (with the current exception of Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Havana), and that "in the enjoyment of tourist facilities and services may coincide with national tourists ”.

Offers aimed at national clients will continue to be promoted, "a market that we cannot give up," he said.

Other measures announced by the Minister of Tourism:

- Sales bureaus are reactivated for the commercialization of excursions in and to territories that are in phase three or in the new normal.

- In the case of Havana, the sale of options to other provinces will begin after October 19, when interprovincial transportation is restarted.

- In the case of Trinidad, because Sancti Spíritus is in the autochthonous transmission phase, excursions that include this territory are not marketed.

- Likewise, in Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Cruz, the excursions will take place within the keys. Tourists will not be able to travel to Ciego de Ávila because they are in the autochthonous transmission phase.

- The operation of the international navies is resumed, in the territories declared to be a new normal.

- Car rental is reactivated.

- The domestic market may stay in the keys, provided that the territories to which they belong are in the “New normal.”

- The usual working hours, days and regimes are reestablished for all workers linked to tourism, in the territories that are in the new normality.

Hygiene and safety protocols in tourist facilities and services

Minister García Granda,  insisted on individual responsibility and compliance with hygiene and safety measures to guarantee that no transmission event occurs in the use of tourist services.

With the advice of the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of tourism has implemented a series of hygiene and safety measures, which have been effective for the protection of workers and clients.

The Minister highlighted the implementation of clinical-epidemiological surveillance through active research to identify workers with symptoms.

This procedure is also maintained during the stay of tourists, with the presence of doctors, nurses and graduates in hygiene and epidemiology, 24 hours a day. "It is a strength that Cuban tourism has, compared to other destinations."

Among the preventive measures are:

- The daily measurement of body temperature from a distance in the accesses of workers and clients.

- Do not allow the entry of workers with respiratory symptoms, guaranteeing their immediate referral to a health center.

- If you suspect a case with symptoms of the virus, immediately inform the health authorities.

- Mandatory disinfection of hands and surfaces.

- Physical distancing of 1.5 meters for all tasks, avoiding physical contact. In places where it is not possible, security measures are established with the use of means of protection, delimitation barriers or redesign of processes.

- Activities in open spaces are promoted.

- Use by hygiene staff and gastronomic staff of gloves to carry out services, cleaning and disinfection.

- Mandatory use of a masks or disposable, by all workers in common areas, for clients in common areas where the established distance is not guaranteed and for all those who show any respiratory symptoms.

- On excursions, take the temperature before boarding the bus, by the guides of the travel agencies. In the event of the presence of clients with symptoms, the health authorities of the territory will be informed.

Measures to be met by private tenants

The Minister of Tourism specified that private tenants must report the presence of guests with respiratory symptoms, and have disinfectant substances (hypochlorite, alcohol or others) for the decontamination of surfaces and hands, also made available to customers.

The territorial delegations of the Mintur have the responsibility of training workers in the non-state sector, who carry out tourism activities. To date, more than 2,000 tenants have received this training.

"We take on the challenge of preventing an outbreak from occurring in tourist facilities," said the minister, and noted that during these three months that the recreational centers have been active, no event has occurred, except for one case at the Costa Azul hotel, Trinidad, but not large.

He reiterated the need for non-family clients to maintain physical distancing. "It is possible to enjoy the holidays respecting the sanitary measures," he stressed.

What measures does the tourism sector implement within the new economic strategy?

"Despite the fact that tourism has slowed down in its growth rates, it continues to be a sector that contributes to the country's growth," emphasized the head of the Mintur at the Round Table.

There is enough space to be used by national suppliers, in order to provide competitive and quality goods and services to satisfy the demand of the leisure industry, taking into account that it is an activity that constitutes a way to attract foreign currency that is destined to the development, he stated.

The new economic strategy promoted by the country raises the need to defend national production and eliminate the import mentality and grant greater management autonomy to the business sector. In recent years - the minister commented - work has been done with national producers to substitute the imports that the sector makes annually.

Among those decisions, he mentioned the objective of  "stimulating international and national tourism to reach, in the shortest possible time, the levels of the country before the pandemic."

Other measures seek to incorporate all the products and services of hotel and non-hotel entities into the “Cuba-travel” Platform, promote culture within the Cuba Image and strengthen and increase online sales channels.

It was also defined as a priority to conclude with the Wi-Fi coverage program in 100% of the common areas and rooms of the 4 and 5-star hotel facilities, as well as the implementation of Wi-Fi coverage in hotel, camping and extra-hotel facilities that do not they have that service.

Other measures promoted by the tourism sector:

- Promote the events that are organized in the country and stimulate the recruitment of venues.

- Identify business opportunities in markets that are potential issuers.

- Identify issuers of specialized tourism, particularly diving, fishing and nature tourism, in markets with high potential in these modalities.

- Design innovative products and accelerate clusters in other sectors, such as health, culture, sports and the environment.

- Increase foreign investment for the development of facilities related to wellness, health and quality of life tourism.

- Identify new products and services of non-state forms of management that enrich the tourist offer and contribute to increasing efficiency.

- Perfect the work system with universities, with an emphasis on research projects, pre-professional practices, talented Students project and consultancy work for tourism entities, as well as updating students and faculty.

- Ensure the investment of the first 199 electric vehicles, whose acquisition is planned in 2020, and ensure a similar or higher figure in the 2021 plan.

"It is expected that within a five-year period - or perhaps a little more - rental cars and buses will be electric," said García Granda.

"The measures are aimed at promoting peace, health and security tourism," concluded the Cuban Minister of Tourism (Cubaminrex-EmbaCuba República Checa).


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