Cuba recognises potential for more people booking Cuba holidays in 2012
Following a successful year for Cuba's tourism industry in 2011, the Tourism Ministry already has its eyes on 2012's target, with the government banking on 2.9 million people taking Cuba holidays. 2012 is set to be an exciting year for tourism in Cuba.
The Cuban government is looking to capitalise on the growing popularity of Cuba holidays among travellers from across the globe. Following a successful 2011, where the island was able to meet its set target of 2.7 million holidaymakers with great ease, the Ministry of Tourism has raised the bar for 2012, setting the annual target at 2.9 million.
Many see the 2012 target as attainable and at present many Cuba hotels in key tourist spots across the island are said to be booked to full capacity with hordes of travellers arriving to the island for their winter break holidays in Cuba. “We are at full capacity. The beach resorts, Havana city are totally full. In the interior of the country, there is nowhere to find a room, nowhere,” noted the manager of a foreign hotel in a Reuters report.
The growth in the tourism industry means that the Cuban government has its work cut out. One travel agency director stated that he felt the Cuban government was not fast enough in responding to the current growth in tourism, “We need more hotels and we need more four-star hotels...we will have five years of difficulty [while more hotels are being built]… Business will be good for everybody because people are coming in, but everybody will have to fight for rooms”.
Acknowledging the fact that more and more people are booking Cuba holidays, the government has recently announced that new investments have been planned across the tourism sector including improvements to the infrastructure across Cuba’s main cities, beach resorts and most popular tourist destinations, as well as the enhancement of the facilities and services provided at existing Cuba hotels in addition to the building of new hotels in key areas. It has been announced that two new hotels will be built in the popular Cuban beach resorts of Holguin and Cayo Coco, with a third hotel managed by the Sirenis hotel group to be constructed in the pristine key Cayo Santa Maria. The planned works for these new hotels in Cuba will add to the 60 000 rooms currently provided by various Cuba resorts and hotels.
Industry insiders seem to agree that the current tourism boom that Cuba is experiencing is owed in part to a relaxation of U.S. policy, permitting U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba for “purposeful visits”. In response to the new policy Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport BWI airport has scheduled new weekly chartered flights to Cuba as of 21st March.
Other experts feel that the turmoil in the Arab countries last year have driven many holidaymakers, who would ordinarily opt for North African holidays, to head to tropical Caribbean holidays in Cuba instead. “It's just a sort of insecurity. Especially in the German market, if there is a crisis somewhere, they immediately stop going. Cuba is viewed as safe" noted one travel agent, while a hotel manager in Cuba stated, “You want security, that's Havana. I would estimate that from France alone tourism to Cuba is up 20 per cent largely because of events in North Africa”.
Regardless of the reasons and the many contributing factors to Cuba's success in the tourism market, all can agree that Cuba is one of the holiday destinations to watch in the coming years as it continues to develop.
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