14ymedio, Havana, 23 July 2021 – Tourism businesspeople from several countries (Germany, the United States, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) complain about the violence inflicted by the Cuban Government by pointing out that the “arbitrary arrests” during the demonstrations of July 11 contrast with the image promoted abroad by Cuban authorities to attract visitors.
Through an open letter sent to the Cuban Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos Garcia Granda, they express their annoyance with the Government, their “commercial partner,” for “silencing the voices in the capital as well as in towns in the interior of the country.”
Their disagreement, they say, has also been asserted in the past against laws and regulations that limit the right of both Americans to travel to the island, as well as the prohibition against Cubans entering hotels reserved for tourists.
They are in favor of “dialogue, freedom of expression, unrestricted Internet access, truth, and unrestricted travel, including for US citizens, when COVID-19 conditions allow it.”
In the message sent to García Granda they emphasize that as promoters of Cuba “we treasure its people, culture, history, and the natural beauty of the Island. Together, we have welcomed and accompanied more than a million visitors from more than 100 countries.”
And due to the increase in coronavirus infections, in July the Cuban Ministry of Tourism extended the suspending of reservations for tourist packages made by Cubans residing on the island.
According to data from the National Statistics and Information Office (Onei), 114,460 visitors were received from January to June, only 11.6% of the 985,199 visitors received in the same period of the previous year.
More than half of the tourists who came to the island are Russians (72,304 of 114,460), followed by the Cuban community from abroad (12,207), Germans (4,719), Spanish (3,753) and Canadians (2,296).
Among the requirements to visit the island, a tourist must present a PCR test from less than 72 hours before entering, submit to another test upon arrival, and isolate for five days in a hotel.
Among the signatories of the letter sent to the Cuban Minister of Tourism are: Eddie Lubbers, of Cuba Travel Network (Netherlands); Karel Pérez Alejo, from Okori Digital (Netherlands); Michael Sykes, from Cuba Cultural Travel (United States); AJ Leon, from Misfit (UK); Rainer Klee from Aerticket GmbH (Germany); IJede van der Kooij, Cuba Travel Network (Curaçao); José Luis Herrera, from Thruads (United States); Reinder Hartholt (Netherlands) and Georges Druon (France).
Translated by Tomás A.
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