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Cuba readies to welcome 3 million holidaymakers in 2013

  • 13-Dec-12 15:25
  • Cuba
  • Caribbean News Now

With 2012 already proving to be a successful year in terms of tourism arrivals, Cuba is already gearing up to receive even larger numbers in 2013. But in order to keep up with growing demand from an increasing number of tourists heading to Cuba holidays, the island has to shape up, with an enhanced tourism infrastructure.

Cuba readies to welcome 3 million holidaymakers in 2013

Already well on their way to receiving the forecasted 2.9 million tourists this year, Cuba is already gearing up to welcome 3 million holidaymakers in 2013. Banking on the continued popularity of Cuba holidays the island’s tourism ministry is pressing ahead with plans to improve infrastructure to allow for the increased flow of visitors expected in the coming year.

Cuban Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero highlighted the need to plough ahead with new projects and work hard on expanding tourist infrastructure. He explained how for this purpose the minsity hard worked intensevely in order to create optimum conditions for a successful 2013.

However, the minister also acknowledged that the challengers encountered were not easy to overcome and the tourism sector had gone through some difficulties over the past few years, with issues such as poor marketing strategies implemented by Cuba hotels and travel agencies, a number of cruise suspensions coming from Europe, a decrease in arrivals in Cuban emigrants from the United States returning to the island to visit family and the drastic negative impact of the economic crisis in Spain in Italy, which were two of the strongest markets sending a large proportion of tourists to holidays in Cuba.

Talking about more positive factors that have positively influenced Cuba’s holiday industry this year, Marrero went on to explain how the input of privately-owned local businesses and the boom of enterpreneurs in the island had helped draw more tourists and fill gaps in the demands for products. “Today we have a new vision of non-state tourism, since we don´t see it as a competitor, but a complement to state tourism” Marrero said.

Today, there are over 1700 “paladares” (private restaurants owned by locals and often housed inside locals’ homes) in Cuba, over 4,280 rooms offering accommodation to tourists planning holidays to Cuba, and over 700 houses for rent, with all this being part of the non-state tourism, which is known for offering a very high quality service thanks to the warm and welcoming hospitality of the locals. These kind of local "homely" establishment are highly favoured by Spanish, Italian and British tourists.

The privately-owned taxis and colonial carriages are another type of private tourism business enthusiastically operated by locals. The craft sales fair are well liked by holidaymakers visiting Cuba because in some cases visitors can see the artist working in real time.

Mr Marrero also added that some self-employed people in Cuba are also starting to work in state-owned facilities, mainly engaged in entertainment and animation services, photography and party planning. He also made a call to all those working to enhance tourism infrastructure in Cuba to work efficiently by means of a proper investment process for materials and supplies to arrive in time, to avoid delays in projects.

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