TORONTO — Melia Hotels International Cuba is slowly but surely reopening its resorts on the island.
For now, Sol Palmeras and Meliá Internacional Varadero are welcoming back local tourists, with good occupancy levels. The company says the resorts’ return to operations will be an opportunity to check the effectiveness of the health and safety measures that have been implemented.
The use of masks is mandatory for workers and the level of occupancy is limited, with seating restrictions in restaurants and cafes.
“Cuba has handled the epidemic situation in an exemplary way. It has fewer cases than the rest of the countries in the area with a strong health system and a strategy for the safe reactivation of the sector, which is of great value,” says Deputy Director General Francisco Camps. Cuba had barely more than 2,400 cases of COVID-19, with only 87 deaths. There are now fewer than 100 active cases on the island.
Cuba officially reopened to tourism on July 1, welcoming back markets including Canada. While there’s been no confirmation of flights yet, upstart carrier OWG is partnering with Hola Sun for Cuba flights scheduled to start Nov. 1.
For the first few weeks Cuba’s international tourism services will be limited to the cayos, including Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco or Cayo Largo del Sur.
“That separation between international and national tourism is something that no other country is applying, and it is a positive measure since it tries to prevent a fresh outbreak of the virus in this new stage and prop up Cuba as a safe destination,” says Camps.
In every hotels and resort there will be a medical team made up of a doctor, a nurse and an epidemiology technician to take care of any situation that might occur, he adds.
“The security and trust that Cuba generates, is an advantage in moving more quickly towards the recovery of the tourism sector. It’s smart to go little by little so there are no setbacks,” says Camps.