The XXIII Festival del Habano will not take place in 2021.
Habanos S.A. has announced that it will not hold the annual Festival del Habano—the Cuban cigar festival—due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. In a short message, the company confirmed that the Festival del Habano was the latest event to fall victim to the global pandemic:
Due to the global context we are living, Habanos, S.A. has decided to cancel the 23rd Habano Festival scheduled for February 2021.
The company, as a worldwide market leader, is working to surprise the Habano aficionados in 2021, year in which our most prestigious brand, Cohiba, celebrates its 55th anniversary.
Earlier this month, halfwheel reported that the company was looking into the possibility of having a virtual festival instead of an in-person event. It seems that won’t be happening.
The Festival del Habano is an annual event held in Havana each February. Next year would have marked the 23rd time the company has hosted the festival. During the week-long event, Habanos S.A. invites its consumers, retailers, distributors and suppliers to a series of seminars, factory tours and dinners. It culminates with a gala dinner where elaborate humidors are auctioned off to raise money for the Cuban healthcare system. Those auctions routinely raise over $1 million.
Typically, the event sees thousands of international guests. While Havana’s airport reopened last week in hopes to attract more tourists, it was with a series of restrictions including tests and quarantine periods.
The Festival del Habano also serves as an event for Habanos S.A. to show off its new releases for the following year, though many of the cigars aren’t released until sometime later. It’s unclear what the lack of a Festival del Habano will mean for how Habanos S.A. will announce new cigars, particularly given that its flagship brand—Cohiba—is celebrating a major anniversary. For some context, when Cohiba celebrated its 45th anniversary, Habanos S.A. released the Cohiba Behike BHK.
This is the second of the three main cigar festivals to be canceled due to the pandemic. Nicaragua’s Puro Sabor has been canceled, a decision on the Dominican Republic’s Procigar is expected in the coming days.
Patrick Lagreid contributed to the reporting on this story.