International tourists return to Cuba amid COVID-19 pandemic

HAVANA: A plane carrying 104 international tourists arrived at Jardines del Rey International Airport in Cuba on Friday from Canada, the first commercial flight landing in Cuba since the Caribbean country reopened tourism for foreign visitors weeks ago.
The flight came as Cuba faces a second wave of coronavirus while lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in Havana, the country’s epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before this, only a charter flight carrying a family of seven from the Bahamas had arrived on the island, after Cuba partially reopened borders to international tourists in early July.
“We are bringing vacations back once again. Today we are celebrating the restart of travel to Cayo Coco, Cuba,” tour operator Air Canada Vacations said on social media.
Foreign visitors are only allowed to enter resorts in the northern and southern keys of the country, and excursions inside the area allocated for tourist activities will be at their disposal, according to the Cuban Ministry of Tourism.
Passengers are subjected to temperature checks and polymerase chain reaction tests when arriving at Cuban airports. Medical teams also conduct epidemiological monitoring at touristic centers and hotels.
Cristina Leon, president of the Gran Caribe hotel group, told Xinhua that Canada, Europe and China are very important to the country’s tourism, but the health emergency has made it difficult for tourists to travel here.
“Many tourists are interested in traveling to Cuba, enjoying our nature, and discovering our culture,” she said. “We want foreign visitors to feel safe here.”–Agencies