TORONTO — To usher in the winter season, delegates from Cuba’s travel and tourism industry hosted an industry event in Toronto to share updates from the new and improved ‘Authentic Cuba.’
The event also marked the beginning of a new cycle of promotional activities for Cuba in Canada, which continues to be a leading market for the destination. This year, Cuba expects to receive a record-breaking 4.7 million international visitors, with Canadians representing the majority of travellers.
“Canadians remain our main source market, and we reaffirm our commitment to continue this longstanding partnership,” said Janet Ayala, Communication Director of the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba. And to the travel agents and partners in attendance, Ayala also added, “We appreciate your support in selling Cuba. Our friendly, well-educated and hospitable people will welcome you the same way you welcome friends and family, in a destination of peace, health and safety.”
Participating representatives included speakers from the Ministry of Tourism and hotel groups such as Gran Caribe, Islazul and Cubanacan. Representatives from agencies like Cubatur, Viajes Cubanacan, Ecotur and Havanatur Hola Sun/Caribe Sol were also on hand, as well as whe nautical company Marlin and Cuban Medical Services.
Presentations covered new hotel openings, Havana’s upcoming 500th-anniversary celebrations and sustainable initiatives by Cuba’s beaches and spas. Other highlights included the 39th edition of Cuba’s most important tourism sector event, FITCuba 2019, which will run next year from May 6-11.
New developments include the of Cubanísimo by Havanatur at the Roc Arenas Doradas hotel in Varadero. It will be the first Cuban-themed club and will offer experiences through craft workshops and local traditions like popular dance classes and baseball and domino games, among others.
A second development is the Meliá Internacional hotel in Varadero, featuring exclusive spaces for families and adults. The opening of this hotel will bring value to Varadero, said Ayala, and will offer modern facilities while at the same time aim to protect the environment.
Cubanacán Hotels has two new properties in Santiago de Cuba, the Segundo Frente, where nature and modernity combine, and the Los Peregrinos, near the ‘El Cobre’ Sanctuary.
Also, Cuban Medical Services has developed the ‘For a happy age’ program for groups of older adults aged 75 to 85 years who are staying for two to three months. The idea is to promote healthy lifestyles.
Lastly, Cuba has launched a new site called CubaMaps (cubamaps.com), which shares main tourist points of interest with its visitors. The extension of Wi-Fi coverage continues to be a priority across tourist facilities in an attempt to position Cuba as a ‘smart destination.’