Some parts of Cuba opened to tourists July 1

Five questions with the Cuba Tourist Board explores that country’s plan to welcome back tourists, including Canadians

Sandra Thomas Travel

I started my “Five questions with…” series more than two months ago with a plan to keep the conversation going about travel amidst the fallout of COVID-19 — and in hopes of getting answers to questions about destinations that friends and family were already asking me.

As travel editor at the Vancouver Courier newspaper, vice-chair of the B.C. branch of the Travel Media Association of Canada, and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, travel is a big part of my life, which meant I already had the contacts in place to get started.

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Now with some destinations looking to slowly reopen, and, in an effort to catch a glimpse of future travel trends, I’m continuing to reach out to travel experts and tourism bureaus across Canada and the globe for answers to five similar questions.

And while no one can predict the future, all are hopeful travel will soon resume. But, how exactly that will look is anyone’s guess.

If you are part of a destination management organization or represent a property and want to share your thoughts, please drop me a line at

Some cayos (islands) in Cuba started welcoming visitors July 1. Photo Cuba Tourist Board

Five questions with Lessner Gomez, director, Cuba Tourist Board, Toronto office.

How did COVID-19 impact tourism in Cuba?

Like other tourist destinations around the world, Cuba closed to international travel because of the Corona Virus. Cuba is now ready to slowly open to visitors. 

In order to control and isolate any possible infection, Cuba has reopened its doors in Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa María and Cayo Cruz effective July 1.   

Cuba is beginning to reopen to tourism. Who are the first international visitors Cuba will be expecting?

Cuba is looking forward to welcoming travellers from Canada and Europe. We have enjoyed a special relationship with Canada for over forty years.

We look forward to welcoming Canada back to our beautiful beaches.

How important are Canadians to tourism in Cuba?

Historically Canada has always been the biggest international inbound market for Cuba.

Some white sand beaches of Cuba have begun welcoming tourist back. Photo Cuba Tourist Board

What does the future hold for Cuba and are there any trends we can look forward to? 

As with the rest of the world, the future is hard to predict, but we are very positive. 

Cuba enjoys a world class health system with particular expertise in the treatment of diseases of the lungs. In fact, throughout this pandemic we have offered medical support to countries around the world. 

We believe we can offer tourists from Canada the confidence to return to our wonderful destinations and we look forward to welcoming them. 

We believe that by opening gradually, tourist will feel comfortable with our planning and slowly we can begin to open other parts of our country. 

Some cayos (islands) in Cuba started welcoming visitors July 1. Photo Cuba Tourist Board

What enhanced safety measures have been put in place to ensure visitors to resorts, hotels and attractions will be safe?

Over the past few months, the Cuban government has focused its efforts on the battle against the pandemic.

During this time, government officials took steps to improve all hotels and tourism infrastructure. Hygiene and sanitary protocols were put in place in order to ensure the safety of the Cuban people and its international visitors, as tourism activities are reactivated. 

Hygiene and sanitary protocols will be practiced from the first phase, for example:

  • In order to operate, tourist facilities must obtain government certification called: Most hygienic and safest tourism (T + HS).
  • Workers with respiratory symptoms will not be allowed on resort premises and anyone with symptoms will be immediately directed to a health center.
  • International tourist circulation will only take place at the cayos (islands) where tourists enjoy their holidays.
  • Excursions will be offered only at the cayos for the international market.
  • The nautical activities and operations at international marinas of tourist centers approved for international tourism are reactivated.
  • As approved by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, in the second phase, foreign tourists will undergo the PCR test free of charge upon their arrival in the country.
Some Cuban cayos (islands) are open and welcoming visitors. Photo Cuba Tourist Board

Bonus question

Where do Americans fit into the scheme of things in Cuba right now?

There are no changes on the Cuba-US relations and related travel restrictions.

For more information, visit GoCuba.

Until you can get there in person, you can check out Cuba via social media. Photo Photo Cuba Tourist Board

To check Cuba out on social media visit:




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