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UNWTO praises the development of the tourism industry and the popularity of Cuba holidays despite U.S. Embargo

  • 18-Sep-12 12:27
  • Cuba
  • Prensa Latina

During a recent statement to Cuban news agency group, Prensa Latina, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation commended the ability of the island's tourism industry to develop and grow against the odds and despite the 50-year-long U.S. embargo imposed on the island by the American government. The UNWTO executive highlighted the growing popularity of Cuba holidays in the face of unmovable political and economical obstacles.

UNWTO praises the development of the tourism industry and the popularity of Cuba holidays despite U.S. Embargo

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai recently praised Cuba’s growing tourism industry and its ongoing success and development despite the increasing obstacles the island faced as a result of the 50-year-long economical blockade imposed by the United States.

Mr Rifai told Cuban news agency Prensa Latina that without the siege put in place by the U.S. government, thousands more travellers would be taking Cuba holidays, especially from the United States since at present American citizens are not allowed to visit the country for tourist purposes. If it weren’t for the embargo, the island would be more accessible to a larger segment of the global tourist markets and the implementation of multi-destination holidays to Cuba and other Caribbean destinations would be more straightforward.

Obama initially introduced some steps to ease the strict legislation on Cuba travel for Americans and created the cultural People to People travel scheme, allowing contact between the two countries. But these cultural trips were limited to a number of people only travelling for educational, cultural, humanitarian, who had to obtain special permission to be legally allowed to visit the island.

 Cultural holidays in Havana- Cuba
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

In a statement to Prensa Latina, the UNWTO executive highlighted the combination of fantastic tourism hotsports, beautiful beaches and the local culture in Cuba, as a decisive factor distinguishing the island as a unique destination in the regional market.

The top executive is attending three international events in Quito, in which Cuban deputy tourism minister Xiomara Martinez is also participating as a delegate to the 54th UNWTO Regional Commission for The Americas. These forums that Mr Rifai is attending predicted the growth of global tourism by 5 per cent this year and the Secretary-General noted that the European crisis had affected the world tourism market the most because of this region being a major source of travellers.

Xiomara Martinez, the Cuban Deputy Tourism Minister also attending the event, said that Cuba expects to receive 2.9 million tourists this year, particularly from Canada, which is the main source of holidaymakers for the island. She explained that the Cuban tourist product is currently diversifying beyond what is known as the typical sun and beach holidays in Cuba, based on modalities such as incentive travel, events and nature tourism and as a multidestination in the region.

 Vinales Valley in Cuba
Image by: RobWilliamsJnr, on Flickr

Some of the reasons why an increasing number of international tourists are showing a growing interest in Cuba holidays include the island's unique natural and historical values, the skillful human resources, air connections through 45 airline companies operating in a dozen airports, plus the implementation of environment-friendly strategies, the deputy minister said.

At present, the island has a total of 58,000 hotel rooms, which will soon be joined by another 10,000 included in the 2013-2016 development programme which will see the opening of new Cuba hotels across the archipelago, Martinez added.

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