Cuba Tourism Grows Despite Escalation of US Blockade

Cuban Tourism Day was celebrated for the first time on November 20th this year

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cuban minister of tourism manuel marrero
Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero when delivering a speech on the Cuban Tourism Day. (Photo: Modesto Gutiérrez Cabo / ACN).

Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz, said in Havana that despite the upsurge of the US blockade against the island, particularly the measures aimed at undermining the tourist sector, a good high season is predicted with nearly a 1,6% increase in foreign visitor arrivals by the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Cuban Tourism Day, which is celebrated for the first time this year, Marrero Cruz said that these results reflect the hard work carried out by his office with the support of others such as the Ministry of Transportat, hotel chains and the media, when seeking alternatives and promoting the advantages of the country.

This has been a rather complicated year because the US government has been committed to intensifying the blockade and especially the measures aimed at affecting tourism, thus cruise travels were abruptly suspended on June 5th and more recently, regular flights to Cuba, except to Havana, said the minister.

We are convinced that these are not the only measures, others will come, but we haven’t sat around waiting, we have looked for alternatives and there has been an intense international work on the part of our ministry, hotel chains and agencies, he said when referring to the actions undertaken.

Marrero said that fiftysix measures have been adopted which are already bearing fruits, for example, despite the suspension of travels by cruise ships, yachts and flights to most of Cuba’s tourist destinations, the arrival of visitors by air —the main route of arrival— have been growing in 10%, and we plan to close the year with 4 300 000 visitors, about 1.6% growth.

The Cuban minister also said that incomes are expected to increase from sales or negotiations while, in view of the  bankruptcy of UK’s Jet2Holiday and Thomas Cook Companies which together bought more than 95 000 tourists to Cuba, talks are being held with other chains, which do not operate in the Caribbean, in order to attract their interest towards the Caribbean island.

He said that during his recent visit to China he noticed a significant interest in increasing visits to our country. In the same way, there are many people from other areas of the world who are ager to come to Cuba, but they don’t know how. That is why, together with the Ministry of Transport, priority is being given to new airlines, easing conditions for them to fly here, and even lowering prices.

Despite difficulties, tourism business keeps moving on. Our government continues to give priority to investments, we continue repairing hotels and building others in order to finish some 4 000 thousand rooms this year and to build another four thousand in 2020, said the minister.

He also thanked the media for their support in promoting the advantages of the country and the intention of their work which seek to break the “opinión matrix” of the enemies of the Revolution intended to highlight shortages and deficiencies, but tourists have been able to verify our reality and become promoters themselves.

This Wednesday Cuba celebrated for the first time the Day of Cuban Tourism, occasion in which the efforts of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro to develop the sector were remembered. The Cuban leader was the first president of the National Institute of the Tourism Industry created 60 years ago, on November 20, 1959.

Source: ACN / Translation: Escambray

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