The Cuban Government Sells Cayo Coco as a ‘Safe Destination’ Despite the Omicron Wave

In mid-November, around 27 weekly flights arrived at Jardines del Rey, which rose to 35 during the month of January. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 January 2022 — The Cuban authorities have taken advantage of the slight increase in flights to the Jardines del Rey airport (Ciego de Ávila) to advertise Cayo Coco, one of the main tourist enclaves in the country, as a “safe destination for travelers of different nationalities despite the epidemiological complexities in the world”.

As published by the Cuban News Agency, after the start of the high season and with the end of a large part of the restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic, in mid-November, around 27 weekly flights arrived at Jardines del Rey, which were raised to 35 during the month of January.

The official of the Provincial Delegation of the Ministry of Tourism, Lubia Olivera Espinosa, stated that most of the aircraft came from Canada and Russia, although there were also flights from Mexico.

In line with the announcement made last week in Madrid by the Cuban Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, to make more hotel rooms available to travelers in 2022 Olivera Espinosa announced that Cayo Coco has reopened new hotels, adding up to a total of 15 establishments.

Among them are Kempinski Cayo Guillermo, Iberostar Daiquirí, Iberostar Selection Esmeralda and Coral Level, belonging to the Gaviota Hotel Group. The official note points out that “the development of hotel facilities, planned out to the year 2030, continues with the construction of new accommodation sites in Cayo Paredón Grande.”

The Cuban government, which has minimized the impact of the omicron variant on the island, emphasizes the control measures carried out with tourists. “As part of the insurance for tourist operations, up to 500 daily samples are processed for PCR-RT,” said Tatiana Artiles Herrera, head of the laboratory at the Roberto Rodríguez hospital in Morón.

The official press does not mention that Air Canada, although it maintains its connections with Cayo Coco, Holguín, Santa Clara or Varadero, will suspend its flights to Havana until April 30. The decision, made public on January 5, was due to the wave of covid-19 in the world caused by the omicron strain.

Nor do they mention the tourism debacle in Cuba; in the first 11 months of 2021the country received just 6.5% of the travelers it received in the same period of 2019.

The pandemic, which caused harsh restrictions around the world between 2019 and 2020, ceased to be an excuse last year, as other Caribbean destinations recovered much of their tourist trade. The Dominican Republic, specifically, achieved 73% of the tourists it received between January and November 2019, and Mexico ended 2021 with the high figure of 12.5 million visitors.


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