Havana airport will open to regular commercial flights on 15 November after being closed for seven and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes on time for what is traditionally the Caribbean island nation’s high tourist season from November to March although the pandemic is expected to reduce the flow of visitors.
The tourism sector is one of the top hard currency income earners in cash-strapped Cuba which already opened most of the country last month to travellers. Plunged into crisis and scarcity by tough US sanctions and the COVID-19 outbreak, the import-dependent country is struggling towards a ‘new normal’.
The Cuban government said it was holding off on opening up the capital until its coronavirus outbreak was sufficiently contained. Authorities will test all international travellers for coronavirus on arrival, the state-run media said, and will levy a sanitary tariff in order to cover the extra costs of new hygiene protocols.
Cuba does not require travellers to take a coronavirus test prior to traveling but this week told tourism agencies to insist to visitors they monitor their own health before traveling after 11 of the 900 Russian tourists that arrived at a northern beach resort last week tested positive upon arrival.