The move comes amid a sharp drop in tourism and the consequent lack of foreign exchange, Cuba’s foreign exchange company said.
People leaving Cuba can no longer exchange their local bills in dollars, euros or other currencies at the official exchange rate according to a new policy announced this week.
The government closed the exchange booths in the airport’s departure lounge that had allowed travelers to exchange up to $ 300 at the official rate of 24 Cuban pesos to the dollar, about twice the country’s black market.
This gives outgoing visitors little choice but to spend the pesos they had bought before leaving the country.
State exchange company Cadeca said the measure is due to a drastic drop in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of strong currencies.
The fight for hard currency has accelerated due to a reform that eliminates a “convertible peso” that had its value tied to the dollar and which some Cubans could access, as well as the opening of new stores that sell only in dollars or with credit cards. backed by the strong currency.
“We need to recognize this issue that exists in the economy,” Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said on Thursday, although he assured that the official exchange rate would remain at 24 to 1.