Cuba wants to attract more Portuguese investment and tourists. To do this, the two countries “need a direct air link” to make the trip “much easier and less costly”.
The statement was made by Cuban diplomat Merne Hernández at the ‘La Havanita’ event, held Thursday (July 21) in Lisbon.
“Last year, 19,000 Portuguese people travelled to Cuba. That is enough to fill one weekly flight,” he said.
Hernández believes a direct air link will be launched “next year”, making it easier to travel between the two countries as passengers would no longer have to catch a plane in Madrid.
Hernández said “foreign investment is Cuba’s current priority,” and Portugal is among the many countries that could contribute.
He named “tourism and renewable energies” as some of the areas the countries could work together in, as well as the food and pharmaceutical industries.
The diplomat added that Portugal will have its own pavilion at Havana’s International Fair this year, which will take place at the end of October and beginning of November.
Portugal’s growing interest in Cuba, says Hernández, is even more evident as President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has planned a visit to the country in October.
Indeed, Portugal’s Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva visited Cuba last month to meet with the country’s authorities and discuss potential partnerships. At the time, he said Portugal had a “strategic interest” in Cuba and wanted to develop the countries’ “political, economic and cultural bonds”.