Cuba: opportunity for more Russian medical travellers?

After seven months of travel interruption to Cuba, due to sanctions hitting Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, the first flight of the Russian company Nordwind Airlines arrived on 5 October.  It marks the resumption of tourist flights from the Russian capital to Cuba.   This could be an opportunity to attract Russian medical tourists who used to go to Europe for treatment.

Nordwind Airlines had been working for months to find a route that avoids the USA and European airspace. The exact route is still secret. In March 2022, the European Union closed its airspace to Russian companies, one of several economic sanctions hitting Russia after beginning the war in Ukraine.

Cuban medical tourism is unlikely to be able to legally accept American medical tourists despite better post-Trump relations with the USA and is seeking new markets. Havana is looking to more unusual markets, including travellers from Kazakhstan who can reach Cuba through European countries such as Germany, France, and Spain. The airlines of these countries have regular flights to Cuba. They can also route through Turkey.

Now that Russians and other allied countries have found ways of flying to Cuba, they are a new potential market as they can no longer go to European countries for treatment.