HAVANA, Cuba, May 8 (ACN) At a time when attempts are being made to impose isolation and confrontation, we propose unity, fraternity, solidarity, and peace through tourism, said the Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero at the opening of the International Tourism Fair, FITCuba 2019.
In a scenario marked by an escalation of aggressions against the Island, Marrero assured to representatives of airlines, tour operators, travel agencies, hotel and transport companies that Cuba will never abandon those who reached out to her in difficult moments.
That is why I want to thank the governments of Canada, the European Union, especially the Spanish government, for the support to those who have or do business with Cuba, said Mercedes Lopez Acea, member of the Political Bureau and Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Regarding the recent activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the Minister affirmed that some of the companies that do business with this country could be threatened, and in this sense he transmitted a message of trust, legal guarantee and accompaniment in the face of any manifestation of threat.
All these companies have full legal security under the Foreign Investment Law and Law 80 on National Dignity, he said.
Despite the increase in hostilities on the part of the U.S. government, a total of 26 U.S. companies are attending FITCuba 2019, with 50 businessmen, said Marrero.
Regarding the characteristics of Havana as a tourist destination, he mentioned that 51 airlines fly to it, connecting it with 36 major cities around the world, receiving an average of up to 450 weekly flights in high season.
The capital's is Cuba's main cruise port, through which 12 of the 17 companies operating within the country arrive, he added.
He also mentioned that more than 600,000 visitors claim that they chose Cuba for safety and more than 41 percent of tourists visiting the country are repeaters.
Among the potentialities of the island he mentioned it has several sites declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity, National Parks, having obtained in 2018 the certificate of Excellence TripAdvisor for 11 hotels, in addition to being Varadero among the best beaches in the world.
In updating on the situation of the sector, he stressed that the behavior at the end of the high season is favorable, and that on May 6, Cuba reached two million tourists, 12 days earlier than in 2018.
The process for the beginning of the foreign administration of the José Martí International Airport, in this capital, is progressing, and the companies that tendered for the administration of the Varadero, Santa Clara, Cayo Coco and Holguín airports have already been selected, Marrero announced.
This year four thousand new rooms will be inaugurated, with an important weight in Havana, where 13 facilities such as Prado and Paseo, Palacio Cueto, Vedado Azul, and one with a concept similar to the recently inaugurated Hotel II Frente, will be contemplated for the enjoyment of nature tourism.
He mentioned that the Meliá Internacional, in Varadero, has already partially opened its doors, and indicated that the Iberoestar Albatros, in Holguín, will be inaugurated, as well as several under the Encanto brand in Sancti Spíritus, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba.
The first hotel in Cayo Cruz is also put into operation, and as part of the premiere program, the Continental Cabaret of the International Hotel in Varadero will be inaugurated in August, with the latest technologies and all the first-rate Cuban cultural legacy, he said.
By 2020, 26 lodging facilities - 4,208 new rooms - are expected to be completed, mainly in Havana, Varadero, Ciego de Ávila and Cayo Cruz, and by 2021, close to 30 hotels - more than 3,600 rooms - are planned to be completed.
Among the good news, he mentioned that a process will be initiated to gradually eliminate single-use plastic in Cuban tourism.
Cuba has continued to diversify and expand foreign participation in the sector and currently has 27 joint ventures, 94 management contracts, and hotel marketing with 19 managers, he said.
He asserted that within the framework of the commercial exchange, La Altura S.A. will be constituted for the development of a real estate project associated with golf courses in the north of Pinar del Río.
María Reyes Maroto Illera, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of the Kingdom of Spain, guest of honor at the Fair, ratified at the inauguration of FITCuba the rejection of the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Law.