Cuba will begin reopening to international tourists next week, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced late Thursday, according to Reuters.
Restrictions will still remain in place for Havana, which recently experienced a resurgence in coronavirus infections and was under a partial lockdown until last week. But flights from overseas will be able to land in 13 of the country’s 16 provinces, opening up the possibility of winter trips to Cuba’s beach resorts.
Cuba’s economy typically relies heavily on tourism, and the extended shutdowns have had a devastating effect, leading to food shortages. But the country also has one of the world’s lowest fatality rates, thanks in large part to its universal health-care system and aggressive approach to contact tracing and mandatory quarantines.
Even before Cuba closed its borders at the start of April, American visitors faced a slew of complicated travel regulations. In June 2019, the Trump administration banned cruises and “people-to-people” group tours to Cuba,which had previously been some of the most popular ways of seeing the country. Americans must now be able to prove that they’re visiting for educational, family or professional reasons — or providing “support for the Cuban people,” a vague category that tour operators interpret in a variety of ways.