The Cuban Minister of Tourism Expects Half a Million Russian Visitors

Juan Carlos García Granda, Cuba’s minister of tourism  / Presidencia Cuba

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Moscow, 14 March 2024–The Russian MIR payment card, accepted in Cuba since November 2023, is here to stay and will boost Russian tourism to the Caribbean nation to an expected half-million visitors, Cuban minister of tourism Juan Carlos García Granda declared today.

“The Russian MIR card arrived in Cuba to stay,” García Granda stated during a press conference called by the Russian news agency TASS.  He explained that the Cuban tourism sector assigned itself the task of “creating many more benefits for the Russian customer.”

“One of the challenges we have overcome, because we can now announce the results, is that Russians can use rubles to pay in Cuba, which is already the case today,” he pointed out.

García Granda recalled that since 20 November 2023, “we were able to complete the first transactions with MIR cards, and we officially announced the use of MIR cards on terminals at points of sale since 5 December 2023.”

The minister reiterated the interest in promoting Cuba as an attractive tourist destination for Russia

“In these first months of operation, more than $2.7 million dollars have been transferred via the MIR cards; there are 20,000 point-of-service terminals in major stores and tourist spots throughout the country. This is something that will continue to grow and the conditions exist for it to be so,” he asserted.

The minister reiterated the interest in promoting Cuba as an attractive tourist destination for Russia, and averred that Havana “is not abandoning the objective of having Russians occupy one of the three top spots among foreign visitors to the country.”

He indicated that even throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Russian tourists could visit the Greatest of the Antilles, thanks to agreements between Havana and Moscow. Also, Havana is in permanent dialogue with the Russian authorities to increase not only the number of flights, but also to add new routes, in particular from St. Petersburg to the Island.

Already for the current year, García Granda noted, Cuba will exceed 200,000 Russian tourists.

“This is not a great amount in terms of absolute figures, but it will be a very motivating result for us. I expect that soon, even while I’m still leading this ministry, we will get to a half-million Russian visitors,” he added.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison 


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