Travel agents applaud Cuba’s decision to phase out ‘hotel hospitals’

Travel agents applaud Cuba’s decision to phase out ‘hotel hospitals’

TORONTO — Travel advisors are applauding Cuba’s decision to phase out its ‘hotel hospitals’ and instead allow COVID-positive travellers to isolate at their current resort.

As reported yesterday, visitors to Cuba who test positive for COVID-19 can now isolate in the same hotel they’re already staying at, but in a different section or block. The rooms selected are separated from the rest of the hotel and being overseen by medical personnel.

That should ease client concerns about having to quarantine at an off-site government-designated facility should they test positive in-destination, say agents.

In Charlottetown, PEI, The Travel Store owner Paulette Soloman says one of her advisors, Jackie Arsenault, summed it up well:

“I just sent this [article] off to clients that cancelled a February trip to Cuba for this reason — they were worried on the upcoming trip that young teens with them would have to go to another hotel [if they test positive],” said Arsenault. “They cancelled their February trip and said they will rebook for April or May.”

The upshot, says Arsenault, is that Cuba’s change of policy to allow COVID-positive travellers to isolate at their current hotel is good news for clients. “Yes this will make a huge difference. Families don’t want to be separated if they have to quarantine,” she said.

Another agent, Kathleen Penner with Plenty of Sunshine Travel in Hamilton, ON, says Cuba’s policy offers peace of mind. And that’s something clients put a high premium in these days of COVID and travel.

“This is new policy is reassuring to my clients, as they have chosen the resort themselves and they are comfortable staying there,” Penner tells Travelweek.

“When you are diagnosed with COVID, that is scary enough. To go to an unknown location in a different country adds to your stress. By being able to stay in the resort of choice you can feel assured that you will be in a comfortable location and you will be well taken care of. And your family members or travelling companions – while not in your room – are nearby.”