High Hopes for Cuban Tourism


In this week’s issue of Travel Courier, Ian Stalker reports that Cuba’s tourist trade has received both a pat on the back for its performance in recent years and a prediction of a glowing future from a clear heavyweight in international travel.

Taleb Rifai, general secretary of the World Tourism Organization, told delegates attending Cuba’s annual tourism show FITCuba last week that the country is “without doubt … a successful example” of a growing force in the international tourist trade.

Rifai, speaking during the Havana show’s opening ceremony, noted that a country that last year hosted over 2.8 million visitors saw under 2 million 10 years ago.

That translates into “remarkable” 30% growth in the last decade, he noted, while predicting “your numbers will continue to grow… I am confident that Cuba is going from success to success.”

But Rifai cautioned that Cuba can’t depend on its sun and beaches alone to attract an increased number of visitors, adding beaches are commonplace on this planet.

He suggested that Cuba increasingly promote its “cultural richness… You have a wonderful, wonderful product.”

Cuban tourism minister Manuel Marrero in turn noted that Cuba last year welcomed 2,852,572 foreign visitors, including over a million Canadians, the third straight year that the number of visiting Canadians topped the 1 million mark.

“We maintain the trend to increase the number of travellers,” he told the Havana gathering, citing the latest 5% increase.

Check out the full story in this week’s issue of Travel Courier by clicking here.