With the election as Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, it should be good news for those considering travel to Cuba. Travel Agent spoke with David Lee, owner and founder of Cultural Cuba, to get his take on what this means going forward.
Ultimately, Lee says, President-elect Biden is a positive for travel to the country. “I’m certainly very optimistic,” he says, that Biden will ease restrictions that President Donald Trump has put into place during his administration (which included ending group people-to-people travel, banning commercial flights to all airports, with the exception of Havana’s José Martí International Airport and later banning charter flights to Cuban cities besides Havana, and further restricting lodging at certain properties). Lee is optimistic because of President-elect Biden’s previous rhetoric regarding Cuba relations and the fact that he was part of former President Barack Obama’s administration, which eased many travel restrictions but also because Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, has previously visited the island and even attended a private event with Habana Compas Dance, a partner of Cultural Cuba’s
The real question is not so much will the Biden Administration roll back the restrictions but when. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the priority might not be very high on the list. Nonetheless, Lee expects something to be done in 2021, possibly in the latter half of the year.
Good to know: Cuba is reopening its borders to international travelers on November 15. The most recent protocols, announced this week, do not require travelers to arrive with proof of a negative test or to quarantine; rather, all visitors will be given a rapid test at the airport before they are allowed to continue into the destination. Results will take less than 24 hours and visitors will be contacted if they are positive. Travelers would then have to remain at their accommodation but it’s unclear how much mobility they would have if there is a positive test result.
Cuba reportedly has fewer than 500 active cases. According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, it has had 7,429 confirmed cases and 130 deaths. More than 6,700 people have recovered.