The Toll of Losing Tourists in Cuba

Cubans who rent Airbnbs, drive classic cars or sell food to restaurants have taken an economic hit during the pandemic. The Cuban government, which owns all the large hotels on the island, has seen revenue plunge and promised to make some changes to the centralized economic model to ease the pain.

In July, the Cuban government opened hotels on isolated keys off the coast of the island, promising international visitors a vacation in the country that has kept the spread of the virus down. To date though, no tourists have come.

Cuban Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernández said, “We have gone four months without tourism, which signifies a sustained loss of income.”

Government officials also announced that because of the economic calamity caused by the coronavirus and new Trump administration sanctions, the Cuban government would soon open stores selling food in US dollars, the currency of Cuba’s Cold War foe.

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