Russian tourists are seduced by the Dominican Republic to the detriment of Cuba

Russian tourists are seduced by the Dominican Republic to the detriment of Cuba

The Russians continue to be the engine of tourism in Cuba, which so far this year has lost almost 75% of visitors compared to the previous year, which is already very bad. However, the tables could turn if travelers from the Eurasian giant begin to consolidate as a general public in the Dominican Republic, a trend that took a strong qualitative leap in September.

While the Russian tourists arrived that month on the island were barely 8,019, the Dominican received 21,387. As the Cuban economist Pedro Monreal has observed, the behavior of these curves have been crossed very noticeably, and throughout the year the Russians who arrived in Cuba far exceeded those who traveled to the neighboring island, but that month the trend was reversed and this October the Dominican Republic repeated a feat by receiving 49,521 Russian passengers.

November and next December will be when it is really verified if the trend is temporary or if the Dominican Republic has taken advantage of the partial Cuban closure to eat the most growing clientele

November, when tourism has really reopened on the Island, and next December will be when it will really be verified if the trend is temporary or the Dominican has taken advantage of the partial Cuban closure to eat the most growing clientele, further complicating the Cuban situation. 63,562 travelers flew to Cuba from Russia in 2020, compared to 121,949 this year, a market in clear expansion whose growth already in 2019 – last year with normalized data, before the pandemic – was 30% compared to 2018.

The figure that warned of the significant increase of Russians in Cuba arrived in 2017, when travelers from that origin grew 40% compared to 2016.

For the Island, this year’s data does not seem to bode well. Even though hopes are placed on the remaining month and a half of 2021, coinciding with the high season, between January and October the Island barely received 319,852, 25.6% compared to the same period in 2020, which closed with only 1,085 .920 visitors.

Data released by the National Statistics and Information Office (ONEI) last week also indicate that the number of foreign visitors fell by 80%, from 993,018 to just 203,806. Only Russian tourism improved, despite everything, going from 63,562 travelers in 2020 to 121,949 this year.

In the rest of the data there are few surprises. Only 21,493 Cubans living abroad arrived, compared to 107,301 last year. Most of them reside in the US and restrictions on flights between the two countries due to the pandemic have been noted. The same occurs with Canada, which had always been the largest source of tourists to the Island but crashes again, going from 404,921 in 2020 to only 14,618 in 2021.

Finally, Spain, Germany and Italy also fell, in the case of the former by a significant 30%. 2020 was a bad year for one of the main sources of income for the Cuban State, with a 76.4% drop in foreign travelers compared to the previous year. However, the first three months of the year, before the border closures, allowed to maintain a certain resistance. In previous years, the country had recorded record data: 4.2 million in 2019 and 4.7 million in 2018.

On the other hand, this 2021 promises even more catastrophic data, since until October only 203,806 tourists had arrived on the island and it seems unattainable to achieve in two months the more than 700,000 travelers that would be necessary to reach the bad data of the previous year. The Dominican Republic has been able to take advantage of the fall of its neighbor and this 2021 records data astonishingly good on the international scene.

On November 1, its tourism minister revealed that up to October 3,669,761 non-resident passengers had been obtained (443,018 only in this last month), a figure that he described as a record, since it exceeded 19% that of 2019 and a 7% that of 2018, which was the best year of the sector in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican authorities do not currently request entry PCR for passengers from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Panama, France, Germany, Italy, Russia or Puerto Rico, among others and have decided to perform a breath test random rapid and those who seem symptomatic. Children under five years of age, those vaccinated with a complete schedule, those who decide to carry out a PCR of the last 72 hours or members of any crew are exempt from performing this test. The Dominican authorities have also opted for temperature control, a method used throughout the world although by which asymptomatic patients are not detected.

The Dominican Republic does not require vaccination within its resorts, but does require vaccination to leave them. Cuba has chosen a more restrictive route to reopen its tourism

In addition, the Dominican Republic does not require vaccination within its resorts, but does require vaccination to leave them. Cuba has opted for a more restrictive route to reopen its tourism and does require a vaccination certificate or PCR test for all travelers, which could have repercussions on Russian customers. The vaccination rate in the Eurasian country is very low and only 35% of Russians are immunized with the full schedule, despite the fact that Sputnik V was the first vaccine approved in the world against covid-19. In addition, and as a consequence, Russia has high contagion data.

This Monday the number of positives in covid-19 fell from 36,000, almost 1,300 less than on Sunday, but the number of deaths from the contagious disease remains close to the record, with 1,241 deaths in the last day. Cubans have shown their concern in recent months about the campaign to attract Russian tourists to the island.

Since the summer, flights from Moscow to some tourist poles on the island alerted citizens, who feared for the behavior of travelers, little given, among other things, to use the mask well. The first groups of Russian tourists, in fact, generated some covid outbreaks on the island that began the peak stage of infections in Cuba, especially between July and September.

Flights from Russia to the Dominican Republic began to increase in August, when the authorized airlines for that route reached three, since then, the contagion curve has risen, although the island maintains relatively controlled the pandemic to date and the cases range between 700 and 1,000 daily in the last month.


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