By Roberto F. Campos
Havana, Jul 11 (Prensa Latina) Investments in tourism are today a significant key to the development of the leisure industry in Cuba, a country with increased attention by professionals from the sector all over the world.
After receiving 4.7 million foreign holidaymakers in 2017, authorities are convinced that this industry has new challenges ahead, amid a growing spiral in its activity.
Therefore, the general director for development at the Cuban Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR), Jose Daniel Alonso, highlighted recently a major plan to boost investments in tourism.
Alonso spoke at a seminar on Journalism and Tourism in Havana, with participation of 65 media professionals from 12 countries. His conference was entitled ‘Current Situation and Development Strategies in Tourism in Cuba’.
He pointed out that last year, the main investments in tourism went to hotels, with plans until 2030, as 3,700 rooms were completed in 2017.
Those rooms increased the country’s lodging capacity to more than 69,000 rooms in 300 hotels, in addition to 23,000 rooms in private houses for rent, throughout the country.
By May 2019, a major establishment will be completed, Varadero’s Hotel Internacional, which was removed from the first line of beach to a more advantageous location, as a result of environmental protection measures.
The Cuban official said that the ministry is working hard to inaugurate the 946-room hotel five months in advance.
He noted that in 2018, 4,600 hotel rooms are scheduled for completion, in addition to the renovation of other rooms, with special focus on new rooms in heritage cities in order to develop circuit tourism.
At the International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2018), held in May on the central keys of the Cuban archipelago, a new tourist destination was promoted, the city of Sagua La Grande, which is the second case of cities in the country’s interior.
Gibara was launched as a tourist destination for tour operators in 2016, and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba will be highly promoted this year.
Six hotels will be inaugurated in Santiago de Cuba, two of which will be dedicated to nature tourism. Among them are hotels in El Cobre and other significant places of that region.
The investment program also includes Varadero, Cuba’s major coastal resort, some 140 kilometers east of Havana, and the keys off eastern Holguin province’s north coast, above all on the Ramon Peninsula.
In Holguin, three hotels will open at Guardalavaca Beach, one of which (El Albatros) will be managed by the Spanish company Iberostar.