Cuban tourism giant Gaviota is reaching out in a major way to travel agents in this country as the busy winter season draws closer.
Gaviota – which accounts for nearly half of all hotel rooms in Cuba and has other holdings that include a tour division and marinas – held a Toronto event Tuesday that drew a large number of representatives from household-name hotel brands on the island and is now headed for Montreal for a similar event.
“Gaviota would like to wish you a fantastic winter season,” said Nieves Ricardo of the Cuba Tourist Board’s Toronto office.
Frank Pais Oltuski Rodriguez in turn told the gathering that Gaviota’s growth is over 12% a year and it’s offering those planing to vacation in Cuba “world-renowned [hotel] chains.
“All our hotels and all our facilities have been improved,” he continued.
Pais Oltuski Rodriguez added that Gaviota plans to “cover all our facilities around the country” with WiFi.
Gaviota is reminding travel agents that it has new upscale options in Havana, with the Iberostar Grand Packard having just opened its doors. The hotel sent one of its bartenders to make the classic Cuban drink the mojito for attending Toronto agents, which prompted Ricardo to state “tonight is the best mojito in town.”
That tony Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard follows the opening of the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, another upscale choice for visitors to the Cuban capital.
Xavier Destribats, Kempinski’s chief operating officer for the Americas, told the audience he welcomes the Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard’s arrival, saying competition serves Havana’s hotel trade well.
Meanwhile, Ricardo said Havana isn’t the only part of Cuba seeing hotel openings. “Practically in every destination in Cuba we have new properties,” she said.
The evening saw a large number of hotel stays in different parts of Cuba awarded as draw prizes, prompting Ricardo to declare that “it’s raining prizes in here.”
Pictured are Maria Elena Lopez Diaz and Luis Jimenez Ayala of Iberostar’s Havana office and Tabatha Bradley and Mariela Zaldivar from its Ontario operation.