Date: November 2020
Author: Inspector Z

Cuba is opening the borders. Tourists are welcome back in Cuba. The Jose Marti International Airport in Havana is open since last Sunday. More than twenty commercial flights from all over the world made a touch down on Cuban soil that day. Cuban American from Miami, tourists from Europe and Central America are now enjoying life in the jewel of the Caribbean again.

What does this mean for Habanos?

With flights coming in and going out, it means that cargo can travel. Commercial passenger planes also carry cargo and that’s how many of the Caribbean cigars arrive at their destination. Whether it’s from Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, or any other country. That means that the disruption in the supply chain is partially behind us. With no flights in and out of Cuba, stock at many distributors is getting low. So low that many brands of vitolas are not available for the retailer to purchase. And as a result, not for cigar enthusiasts as well. Several distributors such as Pacific Cigar Company (South East Asia & Oceania) and 5th Avenue (Germany, Austria, Poland) already had their shipments rerouted by the sea in air-conditioned containers. But for smaller distributors, this is not an option.

Ministry of Cigars - Cuba is opening the borders
Photo by Diego Fernandez on Unsplash

It could also mean that the 2021 Habanos Festival is taking place. Where Nicaragua already postponed the 2021 Puro Sabor Festival, it’s been quiet from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. With the 55th birthday of Cohiba on the schedule, and thus the possibility to cash in on the birthday of the biggest moneymaker in the Habanos portfolio, it is safe to say that Habanos would love to host the annual festival. So far, no official announcements about the festival have been made. Halfwheel reports that Habanos is eyeing a virtual festival in case the real thing can’t happen. Having the opportunity to host the festival could mean millions of extra profit for Habanos. And for the hospitality business in Cuba.

And all the tourists coming to Cuba means extra income for Habanos anyway. Factory visits and visits to the La Casa del Habano stores. More turnover. For the Cuban economy, opening the borders and seeing tourists come in is a welcome relief. 

Covid-19 measurements

According to Manuel Lopez, the director of the Jose Marti International Airport, there are health and disinfectant protocols for arriving on the island. Every passenger gets a PCR test upon arrival. Then they need to go into quarantine at their hotel of the place of residence until the test results are in. A second test is mandatory after five days. Masks are mandatory at all times when outside, with fines imposed for not complying. Masks are only to be taken off in restaurants or cigar lounges. Smoking is not allowed on the streets for now.

Now that Cuba is opening the borders, things might get a little bit back to normal again. For the Cuban people depending on tourist for their income. For the Habanos enthusiasts worldwide that will see a better supply chain. But let’s hope it does not results into another wave hitting Cuba.

photo credit header photo by Alexander Kunze on Unsplash 

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