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Expert stresses impact of visa-free travel for Chinese tourists to Cuba

The visa-free exemption for Chinese tourists announced by Cuba will contribute to increase exchanges and further strengthen bilateral relations in multiple sectors, a specialised source said today.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, Professor Jiang Shixue, from the School of International Relations at the Sichuan University of International Studies in southern China, considered the island’s decision a very positive one.

According to the analyst, the measure will further promote economic and commercial ties, while encouraging the Chinese to visit the Caribbean nation, «extremely rich in tourist resources and famous for its natural beauty and historical sites».

For the researcher, the exemption of visas will translate into a higher number of trips to the largest of the Antilles at a time when the direct flight between Beijing and Havana is being resumed.

«The increasingly wealthy Chinese are no longer content to travel to Southeast Asia and Europe, but are travelling further afield to the Caribbean,» he added.

Jiang considers this decision «a gesture that reflects the friendship of the Cuban people towards the Chinese people» and the excellent political relations between the two countries.

According to the expert, the measure will contribute to reducing «the harmfulness of the long-standing blockade policy imposed by the United States against Cuba».

In his opinion, it will also make it possible to confront the negative propaganda of the US media against the island.

«Cuba is an open and friendly country willing to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges on equal terms with any country in the world,» he said.

Jiang also considered the move a good model for other Latin American countries to follow amid growing relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the closing ceremony of the International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2024), the sector minister, Juan Carlos García, announced that Chinese citizens with ordinary passports will be able to enter the Caribbean nation without the need for a visa.

The minister also informed that the Asian giant will be the guest of honour at next year’s edition of the event.

After hearing the news, Chinese travel platforms registered an increase of more than 40 percent in searches for airline tickets and hotels in Cuba compared to the previous day.

The Beijing-Havana direct flight route, with a stopover in Madrid, operated by AirChina, is now available on the Qunar website and will make its inaugural flight on 17 May.

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