With an enviable geographic location, history, culture and nature, Cuba prepares today its tourist development to become one of the main destinations in the Caribbean, and is visited by over 3 million foreign tourists annually.
Thus announced Eduardo Acosta, Gran Caribe Hotel Group president, who makes up the large delegation to represent the island in its first participation at the Business Forum of the 7th Summit of the Americas, as a result of the solid and unanimous consensus of the Latin American and Caribbean region.
At the meeting, scheduled to take place in Panama from April 8-10 collaterally to the main event, Acosta and 17 other Cuban entrepreneurs will exchange on the current and future changes the island is undertaking in order to develop key sectors and thus to invigorate its economic growth.
In his dialogue with the CAN, the official described that new scenario as ‘transcendental’ to show how much the Antillean country has done and is doing in matters of tourism, an activity that helped recover its economy, after the devastating effects caused by the collapse of the socialist bloc and the tightening of the blockade imposed by the US government.
Regarding the growth of the sector in the last 25 years, Acosta exemplified that in 1990 there were 18,565 rooms in the nation and today the figure surpasses 65,000, equivalent to a 6 percent increase of its hotel plant.
The president of Gran Caribe also recalled that the island rose from 340,000 registered travelers more than two decades ago, to first receive 3 million foreign tourists in 2014, stressing that at present the branch is contributing more than 2 billion dollars.
Other encouraging figures show that the leisure branch grows by 14 percent in the first three months of 2015, at the same time that the first million tourists have already arrived in the nation, eleven days earlier than the figure recorded in the same period last year.
In fact, added Acosta, the current winter season –traditionally the high tourist stage in the destination– has been the most successful one in the history of this sector in the Largest Antillean island.
For him, all these results prove the multiple national efforts to develop Cuban tourist product in both diversity and quality of its services, geared at increasing visits and the level of repetition.
“Of course, we are not satisfied, there’s a lot yet to achieve and consolidate in matters of services, mainly in the face of the challenges that an explosion in the flow of foreign tourists to the island would imply“, he pointed out in reference to the pronouncement of Cuba and United States to re-establish their diplomatic relations.
The 2nd Business Summit of the Americas, which will gather representatives from big multinational corporations such as Coca Cola and Carguil, will also be a favorable scenario to promote the new business opportunities Cuba is offering in tourism, with the 118 Foreign Investment Law.
Now, that legal framework encourages in its broad portfolio of projects and investments aimed at developing its autochthonous hotel plant, which according to plans should surpass the figure of 80,000 rooms by 2020, the construction of theme parks and the development of real estate complexes associated to gulf courses.
Among the strategic lines of the branch, Acosta highlighted: to diversify Cuban tourist proposal with other modalities such as nature and health tourism, marine, the cruise industry and circuits, in order to complement the traditional sun and beach offer.
In keeping with its principle of “the authentic art of hospitality” Gran Caribe owns today 12,000 rooms in the main resorts of the country, and operates flagship tourist facilities among them, the National Hotel of Cuba and Tryp Habana Libre Hotel.
Cubasi Translation Staff
Written by Lissett Izquierdo Ferrer and Venus Carrillo Ortega, CubaSí
April 2, 2015