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2011: A Good Year for Cuban Tourism PDF Print E-mail

By Luz Marina Fornieles Sánchez - January 18, 2012.

Cuban tourism sailed with a good wind in its favor in 2011 and a tendency which local authorities predict will increase in 2012.

The predictions of 2.7 million visitors in these last 12 months was achieved without any problem; now the forecast for the upcoming year is 2.9 million.  The 3 million mark is not far in the horizon.

Due to its vitality and capacity of resisting the effects of the crisis, tourism continues to be a permanent interest among the international community.  Cuba is not an exception and much less in the current period when tourism has recovered its optimism.

Among the predictions for the high season (November-April) an increase of 10 percent is expected with an improvement in the sector for 2012.

The main markets continue to be Canada ranked first with a record number of one million vacationers; followed by Britain, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Argentina, Russia and Mexico among others.  

Cuba is currently prioritizing the rehabilitation, reanimation and revitalization of a group of hotel and extra hotel installations located in its main tourism complexes aimed at improving the quality of its service and in correspondence with the preservation and protection of its environment. 

The Caribbean island is also planning on the diversification of its product, an increase of the comfort of its rooms and reinforcing its cultural and historic activities in tone with the needs of a sustainable tourism making the sector healthier, demanding and rigorous. 

The sector continues centering its priorities in quality, professionalism of its employees and economic efficiency aimed at an increase of tourists and more earnings due to the country´s need of hard currency. 

The Cuban Tourism Ministry expressed its satisfaction for the favourable results of the industry this past year and the important potential for 2012. 

An official report revealed that this past year was prosperous for the island with an 8 percent increase at the end of 2011. 

The report added that Cuba was rated among the top islands in the Caribbean as a favourite destination for vacationers.

The document pointed out that in less than 10 years; the country became the third tourism destination in the Caribbean, “despite not having 50 percent of the US market”. 

Among the favourite tourism complexes on the island are Varadero Beach Resort (one million vacationers visited this region for the fourth consecutive year); Havana, Holguin and the keys to the north of Villa Clara, Jardines del Rey, Cayo Largo, Santiago de Cuba and Santa Lucia Beach. 

The country currently has 60 thousand hotel rooms.  

The Cuban Tourism Ministry stressed that some of its projections for 2012 will be to implant an Integral Development Plan and short and medium term programs for the sector that includes refurbishing and revitalizing the current installations. 

There are important advances which include the construction of two hotels in the eastern city of Holguin and Cayo Coco in Ciego de Avila province, among other important investments and by the end of 2011 another hotel was announced for Cayo Santa Maria managed by the Sirenis hotel chain with 769 rooms. 

Among the priorities in the tourism sector is the increase of cruise ships visiting the island and the construction of golf courses, in addition to a hike in the offers linked to recreational water activities, events and incentives and nature and health tourism.

An important event to be held this year once again is the International Tourism Fair to be held on May 11th in Cayo Santa Maria north of the central province of Villa Clara.  The fair will have Argentina as its guest of honor and will be dedicated to family tourism given the broad possibilities of tourism development both on the island and the rest of the Caribbean. 

A new milestone in the Cuban tourism industry was marked with the figure of over 2 million vacationers for the 8th consecutive year taking into account that the island is a relatively young destination and geographically small in welcoming so many tourists in a 12 month period, making the island the people’s preference amidst a complex international scenario. 

This is also an example of the increase of our competitiveness sustained not only by the quality and diversity of the tourism product but also the stability and security offered to the clients.

The potential of tourism on the island supported by its offers and values contributes to a larger and systematic contribution to the development of Cuban society. 

Cuba also has many challenges, the world economic crisis, the increase of oil prices and airfares and Washington’s economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island.

Despite this, 2011 was a good year for tourism, and 2012 will be even better.