Cuba Pursues Chinese Tourism: No Visa Needed & New Flights

Photo: elTOQUE.

Cuba Pursues Chinese Tourism: No Visa Needed & New Flights

5 / junio / 2024

As Air China resumed flights to Cuba and aimed to boost Chinese tourism, the Cuban president signed a decree declaring the exemption of visa requirements for individuals with valid ordinary passports issued by the government of the People’s Republic of China.

The measure seeks “to promote friendly and cooperative relations with the People’s Republic of China and fostering tourism.”

On May 17, 2024, the date the presidential decree was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, Air China resumed flights between Beijing and Havana with a stopover in Madrid, operating twice weekly. According to EFE, the route will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays from Beijing to Havana and vice versa on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

At the end of April 2024, Cuba had received just over 1 million tourists out of the 3.5 million planned for the year. The importance Cuban authorities have placed on reviving tourism and the new focus on Chinese visitors was highlighted when Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero attended the reception of the Air China flight alongside the Ministers of Transport, Eduardo Rodríguez, and Tourism, Juan Carlos García.

Jose Luis Perello, a Cuban researcher and tourism specialist, recently stated in an interview in Havana with Xinhua that from 2012 to 2018, the growth trend of Chinese tourism to Cuba was around 23%. This growth was described by the researcher as “important” for the tourism market.

However, this growth froze following the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the arrival of Chinese visitors to Cuba was around 45,000 annually. But, according to EFE, only 18,000 visitors arrived in 2023.

The move by Cuban authorities towards Chinese tourism is also combined with the implementation in May 2024 of a digital visa system that will replace the tourist cards required by most foreigners visiting Cuba. The digital visa management system will be called Evisa.

According to statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex), through Evisa, applicants will be able to start the visa process online. The platform will simplify the visa application and management process and eliminate the need for additional physical documents.

The measures implemented at the start of the low tourist season in Cuba demonstrate the island’s authorities’ need to strengthen what remains the country’s main—and almost only—industry, which they have prioritized at the expense of other sectors in recent years.

Cuban specialists believe that although the start of the year for tourism has been better than 2023, there have been no significant takeoffs, which even jeopardizes meeting the projection of 3.5 million tourists projected by Cuban authorities for 2024.

The accumulated number of tourists in the January-February 2024 period—two of the historically best months of the Cuban tourist season—was 8% higher compared to the same period in 2023. However, it represents only 57.3% of the average level for that two-month period in 2017-2019; that is, the three years before the pandemic.

The target of 3.5 million tourists for 2024 would represent an improvement compared to the 2.7 million travelers of 2023, but it would still be lower than the 4.2 and 4.6 million visitors who arrived in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

This article was translated into English from the original in Spanish.

If you believe that our journalism is important for Cuba and its people, we want you to know that this is a critical moment.

Behind each publication there is a team that strives to ensure that our products meet high quality standards and adhere to professional and ethical values.

However, to keep a close watch over government, demand transparency, investigate, analyze the problems of our society and make visible the hidden issues on the public agenda is an effort that requires resources.

You can contribute to our mission and that is why today we ask for your help. Select the way you prefer to send us a donation.

Rate this news

loading ...


We moderate comments on this site. If you want to know more details, read our Privacy Policy

Your email address will not be published. Mandatory fields are marked with *


330.00 CUP
315.00 CUP
1 MLC280.00 CUP
Calendar iconCUBA

Don't miss our news

Subscribe to notifications and find out instantly about everything we have for you: breaking news, market alerts, live broadcasts and more!

Don't miss
our news

Subscribe to notifications and find out instantly about everything we have for you: breaking news, market alerts, live broadcasts and more!