As U.S. market myths abound, “Canada is Cuba’s first and favourite”: Govea

As U.S. market myths abound, “Canada is Cuba’s first and favourite”: Govea

TORONTO — Having just set a record in arrivals to Cuba with 1.3 million passengers in 2015, and accounting for 40%+ of all arrivals once again, Canada has consolidated its status as the number one tourist market to the island.

Eloy Govea, Director for Canada for the Cuba Tourist Board, was on hand for Cuba’s industry lunch yesterday, and he and his team spoke about clearing up misconceptions about the U.S. market and Cuba tourism.

“The fact is that the embargo is still in place as well as the 12 Categories of Travel under which the U.S. citizens are enforced to travel to Cuba, none of them being tourism.

“Most importantly, Cuba takes this opportunity to reiterate that the country has always been and will continue to be loyal to its traditional partners and friends, those who gave them a hand when they needed it most, and will remain true to its principles, values and identity.”

At the upcoming FITCuba travel conference and trade show in Havana, taking place May 3 – 7, Canada is the guest of honour. “Seventy years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations is a testament of a relationship of respect and friendliness between Canada and Cuba. That manifests especially vividly in the fact that Canadians have made of Cuba one of their top three tourist destinations in the world thanks to their special connection with the Cuban people and their appreciation of Cuban values such as safety, hospitality, education, culture, history and nature, let alone the beautiful beaches and the perfect weather.”

As strong as the Canadian market is, it hasn’t hit its limit, says the tourist board. Additional opportunities include:

  • Multiple gateways available across Canada to the various destinations in Cuba, a major factor to enable a steady increase of group bookings;
  • Canada’s large airlift to Cuba is being used by a growing number of non-Canadian travellers, including Americans, “which contributes to its efficiency and benefits Canadian carriers”;
  • There is a growing interest to visit Cuba from Western Canada, and routes originating in this area will benefit from more efficient and modern aircrafts starting in 2017;
  • Increasingly popular destinations among Canadians, like Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa María, will continue to see a substantial enhancement of its infrastructure.
  • Overall Cuba is opening an average of 2,500 new hotel rooms every year, and looks forward to rising that figure to more than 4,000 as of 2017.