Cuba’s tourism collapses in 2021, facing some of the strictest Covid-19 controls

 Thursday, February 10, 2022 


Cuba’s tourism collapsed again last year, facing some of the strictest Covid-19 controls, even though some of its neighborswitnessing a recovery.

Cuba, one of the hemisphere’s most vaccinated nations, witnessed only 356,470 international visitors in 2021, according to the country’s National Office on Statistics and Information. That’s 67% less compared to 2020, and just a fraction of the 4 million annual tourists that the island nation hosted before the pandemic.

By contrast, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico witnessed sharp recoveries in 2021. Others, like the Bahamas, didn’t see massive improvements somehow managed to stay afloat last year. Overall, the Caribbean saw tourism grow 63% versus 2020 — although still 37% below 2019 levels, according to the UNWTO.

Had it not been for a policy change in November, Cuba’s numbers could have been poorer. The island got rid ofits mandatory quarantine period, eliminating testing requirements for vaccinated incomers that month, due to which, almost a third of all visits in 2021 happened in December.

With tourism representing approximately 10% of the nation’s pre-crisis gross domestic product, a new year with new rules would help the country get back in business.

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