TODAY CUBA – Starting February 1, Canada, the island’s largest tourist market, closed travel to Cuba through at least the end of April. The stiff action was taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Cuba itself announced Saturday a drastic cut in flights from numerous countries including the USA, Mexico, Spain and Panama.
Hungry for tourist dollars, Cuba’s state tourism industry was giving special preference to attract Canadians, which included a free PCR test upon arrival. Other visitors are required to pay for theirs.
Last September, when Cuba reopened its airports, Canadian tourists were the first visitors allowed.
Now the hope to receive the snowbirds is shot for Cuba’s high tourist season. Easter vacation travel is also out.
Not picking on Cuba
Canada is not singling out Cuba, the cut in Canadian tourists is global, the country announcing last Friday the suspension of flights from Canada to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The move is to deter sunseekers from flying south and to slow the spread of more-transmissible variants of the coronavirus.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that WestJet, Air Canada, Sunwing, and Air Transat all agreed to suspend flights to the popular winter getaways until April 30.
The airlines will coordinate return flights for travelers who are abroad now, he said.
Cuban destinations include the highly popular spots of Varadero and Cayo Coco.
Canadians and residents currently abroad returning to Canada are required to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight, pay for a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport and a three-day stay at a quarantine hotel while awaiting the result.
If the test on arrival is negative, passengers are allowed to go home where they will continue with self-isolation for five more days; testing positive results in an extended quarantine at a government facility.