The Little Havana tourism industry and local businesses have been adapting to challenges with creative solutions thinking globally while working locally as the tourism industry has been hit hardest throughout the COVID pandemic.
Known as a place of new beginnings where people have settled for decades with limited resources, it’s no surprise to find our District’s small businesses, from the iconic Mom and Pops to start up entrepreneurs, determined to pull through in the midst of this volatile environment.
The City Bus Tours, typically swamped with people in transit between Port Miami and the Airport have stopped, because of the cruise ship shut down, which is suspended until October 1st, 2020.
Little Havana remains a resilient community with tons of support from residents, who are intentionally rediscovering different parts of their neighborhood, to support and learn more about both its new and traditional establishments.
The greatest obstacle for the tourism industry in Little Havana has been the lack of a comprehensive plan, while facing unpredictable circumstances. City Officials have worked diligently with business owners to ensure their sustainability is as safe as possible for all given the circumstances.
Be it the local or national guests coming to visit the area they are finding lots of perks! Visitors are enjoying smaller groups, private tours at group rates, incredible service at all establishments and smiles from the locals that frequent our streets.
Oh, and yes there are still people playing dominos just as they used to before Domino Park became a global attraction, and they are always eager to greet!
Visitors will still find live music and drinks during Happy Hours starting at 5:30pm at places like Old’s Havana, aside from an encounter with a resident busker and/or spontaneous street performers, as always! Despite some iconic and more recent hotspots closed for repairs, there is still plenty of food and drinks to enjoy, which is what all folks come looking for!
Most people have been visiting from Florida and Texas, as well as many locals who are taking the time to explore the area. New regulations regarding mask requirements in conjunction with the heat waves have been a little tough, however many folks are familiar with the weather, and following the new rules for the most part.
The benefits of going on a walking tour with a guide these days is the ability to still learn community customs without distractions, faster dining service and enjoy a “large playground” full of photo opportunities! Nothing, not even a global pandemic, must stop anyone from tasting their way through Calle Ocho, including a great colada, a tasty pastry, a fabulous Cubano, and maybe even an outstanding guarapo or batido from Guillermina Hernandez at Los Pinareños. Which happens to be one of the most famous “Ventanitas”, where people have been gathering for over 50 years, without a shortage of visitors!