HAVANA, Cuba: Cuba's state cigar monopoly, Habanos S.A., reports that sales of its famous hand-rolled cigars have rebounded strongly after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, posting record sales in 2021.
Many consider Cuba's hand-rolled cigars, which include brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Partagas, as the best in the world.
Travel restrictions in 2020 caused by the pandemic seriously affected demand from countries reliant on tourism, as well as sales at duty-free stores in airports around the world, seriously reducing the sales of Cuban cigars.
According to a statement on its website, Habanos said its revenues rose 15 percent over 2020, in light of vaccination programs and the resumption of international travel.
The rising sales of cigars, one of the communist-run country's top exports, is a rare bright spot for the Cuban economy hammered by the pandemic and ongoing U.S. sanctions.
Top cigar industry publication Cigar Aficionado predicted the larger Cohibas cigars will soon exceed a price tag of $100 each, noting that the Hong Kong market is among the most expensive globally.
In a story on its website this week, the publication stated, "Bigger Cohibas will sell for $100 each, and boxes will no longer be priced in the hundreds of dollars, but in the thousands."
Spain, China, Germany, France and Switzerland are the top markets for Cuban cigars, Habanos said.
Due to ongoing trade sanctions lasting decades, Cuba cannot sell its signature export to the U.S., the largest market worldwide for cigars.