Published on : Saturday, November 27, 2021
This week, the tourism operators in Cuba relaxed a lot as the first tourists in months returned to drink mojitos and take selfies in vintage cars in Havana, providing that much awaited boost to the poorly Caribbean economy.
Communist Cuba has vaccinated its entire population with home-grown inoculations. This last week, has prompted authorities to re-open the borders to tourism after experiencing a pause of almost two-years during the pandemic.
Also, in recent weeks, new infection rates have declined sharply, according to official statistics.
A restaurant-bar named Bodeguita Del Medio, that asserts to be the birthplace of the mojito cocktail, seemed to be quite busy on a sunny November day as bartenders prepared mint-laced drinks for largely European tourists in shorts and t-shirts.
A 55-year old tourism guide, Ernesto Hechevarria, told Reuters outside the bar once frequented by author Ernest Hemingway that from abroad would give new energy to the city.
“Tourism is the engine of Cuba’s economy,” Hechevarria said as he watched tourists come in and out. “Now the economy is beginning to revive.”
For almost two years, schools, entertainment venues and restaurants remained closed and drastically reduced flight services to the island during the pandemic, making the economic crisis even worse that left residents short of food and medicine.
Dayana Siloche selling traditional Cuban handicrafts to tourists in Havana had seen her living getting completely stopped during the pandemic.
“Everything had come to a standstill. We couldn’t make enough to eat. There was nothing,” Siloche told Reuters. “Now, little by little, things are returning to normal.”