With the presence of tour operators and travel agents from all over the world, the 40th International Tourism Fair of Cuba (FITCuba 2022) begins this Tuesday, May 3, in Varadero, as a hopeful sign on the road to the recovery of this industry on the island.
The event will be held until May 7 at the Plaza America fairgrounds in Varadero, the island’s most important beach resort, some 140 kilometers east of Havana, the country’s capital.
In addition, a group of tour operators and specialized journalists are participating in a fam trip to places of interest in western Cuba, including Cayo Largo del Sur, an interesting seaside resort located in the Canarreos archipelago, which includes the Isle of Youth, the country’s second largest island.
Cuban authorities’ efforts to recover tourism began last November 15, when the border was opened to travel after the mobility restrictions imposed by the covid-19 pandemic.
Official data say 573,944 foreign travelers arrived in Cuba last 2021, according to statistics from the National Statistics and Information Office (ONEI).
Dimos la bienvenida a cerca de un centenar de directivos y empresarios que participan en #FITCuba2022. Les agradecí por haber confiado en #Cuba y por el modo en que han sabido resistir las presiones de quienes desean vernos solos y derrotados.https://t.co/qfOvbpD0kf
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) May 3, 2022
The figure represents 39.8% of the visitors who arrived in Cuba in 2020 and is equivalent to 869,181 fewer tourists, despite the fact that the Caribbean nation exhibited a slight recovery in the sector since mid-November.
Work is currently underway to continue the program to build hotels and remodel others, to increase the more than 71,000 rooms in some 300 hotels distributed throughout the country, mainly four- and five-star hotels.
Russia and Canada have been crowned in these times of sanitary difficulties as the first markets of tourism to Cuba, especially to the resort of Varadero and the keys of the north-central region of Cuba.
The island expects to reach 2.5 million foreign visitors this year. Before the pandemic, Cuba received more than four million tourists a year.
If that volume of visitors is reached, the tourism sector should contribute some 1.159 billion dollars to the national economy, according to the Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil.
So far, Varadero has reaffirmed itself as the country’s main tourist center, with an average daily stay of 13,000 tourists, 77% of them foreigners and the rest nationals, according to the delegate of the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) in the western province of Matanzas, Ivis Fernández.
Despite the difficult economic situation, Cuba plans to build 4607 new rooms this year, which would raise the total number of rooms managed by the state sector to 84,906.