Page 1

International Tourism Publication founded in 1996 Year XII • No. 210 • March 2012 • Regular Edition • • ISSN 1724 - 5370 Poste italiane Spa - Sped. in Abb. Post. D.L. 353/2003 Conv. in L. 27/02/2004, no. 46 Art. 1 comma 1, DCB Milano - Prezzo per copia EURO 0,25

A Billion Tourists Expected to Travel This Year THE ONE BILLION international tourists expected to travel this year are a vital force for economic growth and social welfare, said World

Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of Berlin’s ITB Travel Trade Show, according to the WTO website. 2

Tourism to Generate Two Trillion Dollars ACCORDING to a study by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourist sector will contribute, for the first time ever, two trillion dollars in 2012, an amount that represents a 2.8% growth with respect to 2011. More than 100 million persons work for this industry. 2

Successful Visit to Havana by Prof. Alessandro Masi, general secretary of the Dante Alighieri Society

THE GENERAL secretary of the main headquarters of the Dante Alighieri Society in Rome, Prof. Alessandro Masi, visited Cuba last February to recognize the excellent work of Cuba’s Dante Alighieri and as a way of strengthening solidarity and friendship between Cuba and Italy, two countries that “produce culture”. 4

Dominican Republic in BMT


Principal Italian Tour Operators that Market Cuba Destination


WTO and ETC Sign Agreement


La Bodeguita del Medio Celebrates its 70th Anniversary


Italy Present in Most Important Sectors of Cuba’s Development. Interview with Gabriel Cosentino, Economic and Commercial Affairs Attaché of the Italian Embassy in Havana, on the presence of Italian companies in Cuba, especially those linked to the travel and tourism sector. 11



Dominican Republic: Among Famous VIPs, Actors and Directors


he Dominican island is one of the favorite destinations of celebrities, including famous tennis player Rafael Nadal, who chose it for his moments of relaxation with the family. Moreover, it was used as a filming set for some important Hollywood films. One of the most powerful tennis players in the world, Spaniard Rafael Nadal, landed on the Dominican island and in early March 2012 received the keys to his new villa. The complex, designed for the player’s vacations, is in Playa Nueva Romana, on the eastern coast of the country and with a view to the sea, ideal for enjoying moments of leisure and rest with the family. The Piñero Group, a prestigious promoter of Playa Nueva Romana Residential Complex, gave a press conference to adequately welcome the famous tennis player, recalling his greatest successes and handing over to him his new deluxe property. Nadal said, “I decided to invest in this beautiful country, confident of the long experience of the Piñera Group, and I am fully satisfied. Playa Nueva Romana seems like a real paradise.”

The area in fact offers 18-hole golf courses, a beautiful climate, exuberant vegetation and hospitable people, all the characteristics that turn it into an ideal destination for relaxing and well-being during vacations. The residential complex of Rafael Nadal looks out to the beach of the Gran Bahía Príncipe Romana Hotel and was designed to have a vanguard style, with pale colors, open spaces to give the sensation of freedom, accompanied by an incredible view of the golf course and the sea.

The marvelous nature of the Dominican island is not just a destination for famous tourists; it was also and above all the scenario for many famous and international films. The first movie shot there was “Canciones Unidas,” a Mexican production that gave way to the resumption of a series of films. Through the application of the Cinema Law, many world-renowned filmmakers can take advantage of the island’s beautiful landscapes to improve the set designs of their works. A great many U.S. actors have come to the Dominican Republic: Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Angelina Jolie, Isabella Rossellini, Andy García (the latter arrived to star in the movie “The Truth”, which will come out soon) and many others, to shoot scenes of a series of master works like “Miami Vice,” “The Godfather II,” “Lost City,” “Fast and Furious IV” and memorable scenes from “Apocalypse Now.” The year 2012 will see the filming of other movies, including “Parecid a Sebastián,” produced by Víctor Dumé, Palmera Films. ■

Address Via Galileo Galilei, 47 20092 Cinisello Balsamo, Mi Tel. 02 36649575 Fax 02 36649576 E-mail Web Honorary President Renzo DRUETTO Principal Director Giuseppe FERRARIS Director Alfredo RODRÍGUEZ Marketing Director Jesús RODRÍGUEZ Editorial Staff for Italy Tiziana SETTANNI Tel.: +39 02 36649724 Fax: +39 02 36649724 Editorial Staff for Cuba Josefina PICHARDO Digital News Services Frank MARTÍN Collaboration and Marketing Ana Cecilia HERRERA Maria E. LEYVA

A Billion Tourists Expected to Travel This Year

Taleb Rifai.

“BY THE END of 2012, one seventh of the world’s population will have crossed international borders as tourists in a single year,” a figure that will contribute to more jobs, higher income possibilities and countless opportunities for development.

Mr. Rifai affirmed that “with growth comes responsibility” and assured that if properly planned and managed, tourism can be one of the most promising sectors for achieving a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable future. The Secretary-General called on the tourism sector to unite around the issue of travel facilitation as a means to stimulate demand and, as a result, create more jobs. “Travel facilitation must top our agenda and we must speak together on this if we are to be heard at the highest levels of decision-making,” he said. ■

Tourism to Generate Two Trillion Dollars

THE STUDY, presented during Berlin’s ITB Travel Trade Show, says that seeing the economic impact in its broadest concept of global activities that have a direct incidence on travel and tourism, that economic contribution is forecasted at 6.5 trillion dollars and would generate 260 million jobs in the world, one out of every 12 jobs on the planet. In 2011, according to the WTTC, the contribution by the travel and tourism sector reached 6.3 trillion dollars taking into account the direct, indirect and induced impacts, a figure that represents 9% of the world’s GDP, as well as 5% of investments and exports worldwide. ■

Orlando OJEDA Magdalena GARCÍA

Ernesto L. RODRÍGUEZ Mercedes GUILLOT Printer Officina Grafica S.R.L. Via Della Meccanica, 8 Vigano Di Gaggiano 20083, Mi Registered at the Milan Court under the number 166. 13/03/2002. Publicity 45%. Property of Travel Trade Caribbean S.R.L. Registry date at the Chamber of Commerce: 08/01/2001. Registered in ROC Italia (registry of communications operators). Distributed through postal subscription. Cost of copy: 0.25 USD. Partial or total reproduction of the articles is forbidden without the express authorization of their authors, who have legal rights over them and are responsible for their contents.



Vatican Museum Legendary Relics in Havana ■ Julio Antonio Gómez Díaz Professor of the Don Fernando Ortiz House of Higher Studies, University of Havana


ather Nicola Mapelli, director of the Vatican’s Ethnologic Missionary Museum, described the stay in Cuba of a missal holder – the oldest production known of Christian-Indigenous art – as pertinent precisely when it coincides with the 400th anniversary of the finding of the statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre and the visit this 2012 (from March 26 to 28) of Pope Benedict XVI. The Havana Museum of the Captains-General has been honored since Sunday February 5 by the display in its transitory exhibitions hall for an entire year of the legendary relic, an artistic correlate of the meeting of two cultures and attributed, according to archaeological evidence, to the creative inspiration of the Antillean Taino indigenous people, who probably settled in the eastern region of the island before 1510. According to the tradition collected in the record of the inventory of the Vatican’s Ethnologic Museum, this piece was donated on December 28, 1935 by Augustinian father Ernest Baudouy, who received it from father PierreBaptiste Morel, from a longstanding noble family in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Its donors affirm it had been presented to Christopher Columbus’ chaplain in his first trips to the New World: Fray Bartolomé de las Heras, who is believed to have stayed in Cuba for years evangelizing the indigenous populations of the Caribbean region. The piece’s singularities include its making in the shape of a conch, a natural element of a high symbolic value because it was related to the indigenous cult, and its components comprise wood, subtle small plates of fish bones and turtle shell. It is 31 cm high, 37 cm wide and 8 cm long.

MINTUR Cuba Strengthens Promotion in Italy

The Havana Museum of the Captains-General has been honored since Sunday February 5 by the display in its transitory exhibitions hall for an entire year of the legendary relic.

The privilege of its stay in Cuba is due to the negotiation of City of Havana Historian Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler and the exceptional authorization by the Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State. ■

A CUBAN DELEGATION headed by Deputy Minister of Tourism Xiomara Martínez, which attended Italy’s 32nd BIT International Tourism Fair, promoted Cuba as a tourist destination. According to Cuban sources, the meet, which was also attended by Cuban tour operators, hotel chains and the Cuba Tourism Office in Italy, strengthened relations with Italian collaborators and exhibited the attractions of the destination and the principal events that will take place in Cuba this year. The principal actions that were publicized included the FITCuba 2012 International Tourism Fair, to be held in Cayo Santa María from May 8 to 11, and the FOTOSUB International Underwater Photography event in Cayo Largo from May 20 to 24.



Successful Visit to Havana by Prof. Alessandro Masi, general secretary of the Dante Alighieri Society


ccompanied by Dr. Eugenio Vender, head of the Dante Alighieri Committees in the World, he carried out an intense working program. His activities in Havana began with the reception given to him by Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, City of Havana Historian and president of the Society’s Havana Committee, which was also attended by His Excellency Marco Baccin, Italian Ambassador to Cuba, and other Cuban and Italian personalities. Masi was warmly welcomed at the local headquarters of the Society by Dr. Giuseppina Moscatelli, director of the Havana Committee, and by professors and students of the cultural institution. At the meeting, the professor handed over the PLIDA (Italian Language Project / Progetto della Lingua Italiana “Dante Alighieri”), May 2011 section, to the students who approved the international certification exam. For the occasion, he explained to the well-attended auditorium some characteristics of the Dante Alighieri – created in 1889. According to him, “it is the principal institution that deals with the teaching and spreading of the Italian language and culture in the world. It has a network comprising 423 committees in the world (even in problematic areas where not even the Italian state is able to reach), 90 just in Italy and in 50 associated universities.” The Dante Alighieri was born, according to him, “from love for the culture of a country that for centuries has been producing beauty in the arts, and from the love for its language, a language that nowadays has to be cared for and defended respecting its aesthetics in the face of the superpower of languages which is English.” Through its courses, grants and the

Prof. Alessandro Masi, general secretary of the Dante Alighieri Society. Photo TTC.

publicizing of didactic materials, he continued, it is directed above all to foreign youths so they can get close to the culture of the country of Dante and of Giotto, and Italians who want to enrich their cultural and linguistic heritage. With a horizontal structure, not hierarchical, the Italian institution works under the name of Dante, a universal symbol of culture. “We are not vindicating a national poet,

but rather we can affirm that we gave a poet to the world,” Masi concluded. Prof. Masi gave lectures in the University of Havana on Renaissance Art and Contemporary Italian Art, in the faculties of Foreign Languages and Arts and Letters, respectively, and met with the Group of Italian Descendants in Cuba and its president, Ernesto Marziota, to whom he spoke about the importance of Dante Alighieri in the world. As part of the Italian presence in the 21st International Book Fair of Cuba, he participated in the presentation of the book Con gran amor (With Great Love), by ItalianCuban writer Alba de Céspedes, and presided over the handing over of awards to the 15 prizewinning Cuban poets in the 28th edition of the Mondiale di Poesia Nosside 2011 Prize, the only global contest of unpublished poems, represented by Dr. Pasquale Amato, its founding president. In the framework of his visit, Masi conferred on Eusebio Leal the Gold Medal of the Dante Alighieri Society. The Italian institution granted the Benemerenza Diploma that certifies the decoration after the deliberations of the board of directors held in the Palazzo Firenze, in Rome. The distinction, the highest recognition that Society grants, was conferred on Leal by virtue of his contributions to the promotion of the Italian language and culture, and his efforts to preserve the history of relations between the peoples of Italy and Cuba. The Medal has the image of the author of The Divine Comedy on its principal side and on the other shows the emblem and the name of the institution. ■

MSC Lirica Heads for Caribbean from Genoa THE DEPARTURE on November 30, 2012 of the MSC Lirica cruise ship from Genoa, Italy, was announced. The 16-day and 15-night cruise trip will arrive two weeks later to the new destination port in Martinique. The MSC Lirica’s itinerary will go from the Mediterranean Sea, through the Atlantic Ocean, to the Caribbean Sea. The ship will make stopovers in Marseilles (France), Barcelona (Spain), Funchal (Portugal) to reach

Bridgetown, Barbados, after five days at sea. Later, the programmed stops continue with Saint George, Grenada; Basseterre, Saint KittsNevis; and Castries, Saint Lucia, arriving on December 15, 2012 to the port of Fort-de-France, in Martinique. From December 15, 2012 to February 16, 2013, the MSC Lirica has a

complete agenda of 10 seven night departures, leaving from Fort-deFrance, Martinique on Saturdays and from Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, on Sundays. The French Antilles will bid farewell to the MSC Lirica on February 23, 2012, when it begins its 16 days/15 nights return trip from Fort-de-France, Martinique, for Genoa, Italy.

The programmed stopovers are Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Castries, Saint Lucia; Funchal, Portugal; Malaga and Barcelona, Spain; and Marseilles, France. According to the announcement, during the Caribbean experience the guests on board the MSC Lirica will be able to enjoy the most delightful attractions of the region and discover not just its captivating beauty but also the rich history of the islands, with stopovers in Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda; Road Town in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Santo Domingo and La Romana, Dominican Republic; and Philipsburg in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.




uatemala is expecting a 15% increase in the number of tourists in 2012 due to the growing interest of the participants in the Baktun 13 celebrations on December 21. This date represents the last day of the Baktun 13, the longest unit of time of the Mayan calendar, equivalent to 144,000 days. Many of the requests to visit Guatemala are especially associated to sustainable tourism, while the destination is one of the Central American countries working the most to offer this type of tourism. In fact, the forecasts speak of a 20% increase in 2012 of tourists who will choose Guatemala for sustainable tourism. With the aim of promoting this segment, the Sustainable Tourism Commission of Agexport, together with the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, have requested recognition as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for the Takalik Abaj archaeological site, whose f lourishing dates

Tikal National Park.

Guatemala Expects 20% Increase in Sustainable Tourism in 2012

back to the pre-classic Maya era from 900 to 800 BC. Located 190 kilometers from Guatemala City, close to the Pacific coast, it was a prosperous commercial, political and ceremonial center, and a major producer of cacao. The site, built before the most famous of Tikal, is an important witness to the initial stages of the Mayan culture that developed in the Pacific coast of Guatemala and the Mexican region of Chiapas. The Sustainable Tourism Commission of Agexport is carrying on, also for the archaeological sites of Guatemala, with a sustainable type of work system that includes guides, hotels and the tour operators in the surrounding areas and who operate the Mayan sites. Guatemala has many hotels, tour operators and destinations certified as sustainable that offer bird-watching services, archaeological tourism, agro tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism. ■

Cuba Announces Havanatur Golf Cup

Cuba and Venezuela Agree to Build Hotel Complex THE VENETUR-GRAN Caribe hotel complex will be built in Venezuela in cooperation with Cuba, according to a contract signed by the South American country’s Ministry of Tourism and Cuba’s Socivireca Company. According to reports, it will be located in the state of Vargas and will have more than 850 rooms and recreation areas for the inhabitants of

the Caraballeda coast, in the Venezuelan Caribbean. Venezuelan Tourism Minister Alejandro Fleming said on Twitter that “the pre investment phase of the hotel complex will be from February 13 to June 13.” According to Fleming, the new complex plans to open in 18 months and will have the possibility of generating 800 direct jobs. ■

THE HAVANATUR GOLF CUP, organized by the international group of tour operators and travel agencies by the same name, will be played next June 21-23 at the Varadero Golf Club. Peter Walton, one of the top executives of the International Association of Golf Tours Operators, considers that if Cuba continues until the end a project it is developing it could become an important destination for golf lovers. Cuba is facing the competition of the Mexican cities of Cancun and Riviera Maya and the installations in the Dominican Republic, since as a whole they have some 50 golf courses. However, the Cuban authorities are negotiating with foreign companies the construction of 16 golf courses, four of which are already in the approval phase: Holguín, Pinar del Río, Havana and Varadero. Cuba currently has two courses: the one in Varadero, with 18 holes and 69 hectares, and a smaller one in Capdevilla, in the country’s capital.



Dominican Republic in BMT Pavilion 6, stand 6030-31


he Dominican Republic is present with a stand in the fair dedicated to tourism being held in Naples from March 30 to April 1, with the aim of supplying the market in the south of Italy. The Dominican Republic’s Tourism Office is also participating this year in the BMT, the fair dedicated to tourism being held in Naples from March 30 to April 1, in pavilion 6, stand 6030-31. On this occasion, the Tourism Office is presenting the success obtained thanks to the high quality of the tourist service offered by the country, which nowadays has 70,000 hotel rooms with an average occupancy rate of 69%, an all-inclusive offer in 90% of the hotels, a mean stay of nine days, for a business that contributed more than 4.3 billion dollars and close to 200,000 new job posts. On the other hand, after the promotion of tourism by the Ministry of Tourism and directed to the Colonial City, the most charming and oldest area of Santo Domingo, statistics highlight an optimum response: in actual fact 750,000 tourists have opted to stay in that marvelous piece of history and more than 600,000 have visited the suggestive protected areas of the island, enjoying all its uncontaminated nature. During the last session of the National Assembly, Dominican President Leonel Fernández underlined the country’s general growth, highlighting the percentage of the national GDP: +150%, which corresponds to an annual 7.1% growth.

One of the developing sectors is undoubtedly the third, with hotels, bars and restaurants, which saw a 4.8% increase in 2011. As always, the institution hopes to create a strong link and to have meetings with the agencies of the center-south of the country, especially those from Sicily, to provide information and a complete vision of the events and incentives of the Dominican Republic’s calendar for 2012. To learn more about the Dominican Republic, the agents have the opportunity to attend an online training course, a veritable encyclopedia of the country that is also centered on the morphology, fauna and f lora of these dream places. The use of e-learning is very easy: after registering, you enter the site. During the fair, the meetings with the travel agencies of the Dominican Republic’s Tourism Office are aimed at identifying, with a direct comparison, the best type of incentive to improve the positioning of the destination in the center-south of Italy. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ente del Turismo della Repubblica Dominicana Piazza Castello, 25 20121 Milano Tel. 02 8057781

Sierra Maestra, a Destination for Ecotourism LOCATED in Cuba’s southeastern region, the Sierra Maestra is the most rugged, extensive and important mountain range of the island. Extending for 242 km, in the west-east central point from Cabo Cruz to Punta Maisí, it touches 12 municipalities of the provinces of Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo; its average width is 27 km and it covers an area of 5,280 km2. It is the seat of the Turquino Royal Peak, the highest elevation in the country at 1,972 meters above sea level. Its great variety of climates and soils, high precipitation average, large hydric basins, landscape diversity, valleys, deep caves, as well as an exuberant and diverse flora, with a marked endemism, validate it as a great ecotourism destination. Declared Grand Sierra Maestra National Park in 1980, it covers the Turquino and Desembarco del Granma national parks – the latter a World Heritage Natural Site -, the Santo Domingo-La Sierrita and Marea del Portillo natural parks and, on the eastern tip, the Baconao Biosphere Reserve. Its natural attractions include the Gran Piedra, a 70,000-ton rock – the third largest in the world -, which is located at a height of 1,225 meters, and is registered as one of the Guinness Records. Several excursions, always accompanied by specialized guides, of a minimum of two days with stopovers in Turquino Peak and other historic or natural sites of great orographic unity, are at the disposal of visitors. The Providencia (Granma)-Turquino route is the longest and most exhausting to climb; after the walk through Santo Domingo and Alto del Naranjo, a campsite is set up in Aguada de Joaquín to climb the Turquino Peak on the following day. Another route is outlined from Contramaestre (Santiago de Cuba): one can travel from the city of Santiago to Contramaestre on truck and stay overnight in Villa El Saltón, a Cubanacán two-star eco-accommodation, in direct contact with the mountainous environment and a beautiful 30-meter-high cascade. To visit La Plata, although it can be done from Santiago de Cuba, it is recommended that excursionists leave from Bayamo (Granma) to Santo Domingo, where there is accommodation in the picturesque Islazul two-star Villa Santo Domingo with 20 cabanas, located by the Yara River. There is safe transportation from there to the surrounding area of La Plata and other places of interest; in general, the journey ends on foot. Marea del Portillo also offers accommodation possibilities in the Sierra’s environs.



Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort’s Refurbishing Concludes


arceló Hotels & Resorts concluded the ambitious refurbishing project carried out on the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The upgrading works, which have lasted for more than two years, involved a global investment of 330 million dollars. The complex is now made up by two hotels: the Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, with 1,600 rooms, comprising three specific areas (suites and junior suites, families and golf players), and the Barceló Bávaro Beach, with 391 rooms, exclusively designed for “only adults” tourism. The Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort is a very important asset for the chain since it was its first international resort and is one of its most profitable properties, in addition to being the first complex built by a Spanish chain in Punta Cana. Coinciding with the celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2010, a year before the Majorcan group decided to begin the resort’s total refurbishing to give it back the glamour it had when it was

born and positioning it as one of the best vacation complexes in the Caribbean. Now, two years after the start of the works, this has already become a reality. The remodeling has previewed the total reorganization of the complex, going from five hotels to the current two, as well as the incorporation of new services like a spa, a casino open round the clock, a club house for the Club Premium service, new thematic restaurants, and 18-hole golf course designed by P.B. Dye and a water park for children, among other facilities. A spectacular change, although it has known how to maintain the magic of this resort whose secret lies, mainly, in its unique location facing one of the world’s 10 best beaches. ■ FOR MORE INFORMATION:


Nautical, Scuba Diving and Fishing Novelties Cayo Guillermo has launched an invitation to participate in the third edition of the Jardines del Rey Fishing Tournament, Big Game Trolling, from October 15 to 20, 2012. PLAYA Pilar, in Cayo Guillermo; Playa Flamenco, in Cayo Coco; and Los Pinos beach in Cayo Paredón are the sites that have been creating the image that distinguishes Jardines del Rey, based on a diverse and varied offer of nautical activities, scuba diving and fishing. Four diving centers and more than 40 immersion points with excellent ocean floors for the contemplation of the underwater landscape are located along the coast. As novelties, Cayo Guillermo is presenting swimming with dolphins, tours to discover the virgin-

al Cayo Mortero and kite surfing, for which it has the ideal natural conditions and which is why it is gaining followers every year. For Cayo Guillermo it is a luxury to have been the scenario of the demonstrations by Marilou Lavallée, the Canadian kite surfer most renowned in the world, and Spaniard Perla Martínez, second in this sport’s world ranking. At present, there are plans to feature the development of kite surfing, while creating the facilities and conditions for a school. NEW PRODUCTS The upcoming opening in Cayo Coco of the Memories Flamenco Hotel – property of the Gaviota Group - has been announced, with more than 600 rooms in its first stage. The growth in the number of hotel rooms in Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo will continue to

spread to Cayo Paredón Grande with a potential for more than 20,000 rooms, based on an initial development program until 2016 that aims to reach some 10,000 rooms. The projects are currently being prepared for the development of new products like: golf courses, parks and recreation centers, dolphinariums, commercial centers and marinas, to make this destination one of the most complete in the Caribbean. ■

Costa Rica Wants to Increase Tourist Arrivals AFTER BREAKING the record of arrivals in 2011 with 2.19 million visitors, 4.6% more than the previous year, Costa Rica is focusing on innovation and new market niches to enhance its tourist development, like rural community, medical, cultural and congress and conventions tourism. One of the objectives of the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) for this year is to begin the construction of the National Convention Center, with which the country aims to position itself in the congress tourism segment. The tourists received in 2011 represent the highest figure in its history, surpassing the 2.1 million in 2010 and the 2.09 million in 2008, according to the ICT. Costa Rica’s principal tourist markets registered growths in 2011: Europe, 4.8%; North America, 3.9%; and South America 8.2%. In 2011 new air operations were opened to the country such as airlines like Airberlin, with a bimonthly direct flight from Berlin to the city of Liberia (Pacific), and JetBlue, with four weekly flights between New York and Liberia. Tourism is one of the principal driving forces of the country’s economy, since every year it generates close to 2.1 billion dollars (1.582 billion euros), which is approximately equivalent to 5% of the GDP. Moreover, it directly employs some 150,000 persons and indirectly another 400,000.



Italy Present in Most Important Sectors of Cuba’s Development Mr. Cosentino, the number of Italian companies present in Cuba or that have trade relations with Cuban companies is significant. How would you define the Italian presence in that sense? Italy has more than 40 branches registered in the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba and in the field of investments, with 16 International Economic Association Agreements with Cuban companies. Moreover, we would have to add other Italian companies that operate directly from Italy or from other area countries. We are present in the most important areas for the country’s development, like tourism, the oil industry, machinery and equipment for the industry, construction and restoration; chemical products, transportation, technology and medical devices. The Saipem/ENI Scarabeo 9 platform, which began off-shore drilling last February, is the symbol of Italian state-of-the-art technology at the service of Cuba. Among the European Union countries, Italy is the second largest exporter after Spain. There was an increase in our exports to Cuba (+38%) and our imports from the island (+280%) in the first semester of 2011, a sign that our exchange enjoys good health and is being rebalanced. To give an idea of the excellent state of trade relations between the two countries suffice it to mention that in the last Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV 2011) Italy’s Pavilion, which was created by the Embassy without having public resources, ranked third in contracted exhibition space, after Spain and China. Just imagine if we would have had the funds for the promotion. Our accredited companies in Cuba, headed by Massimo Bonanno de Finauto Internacional, are very close to their host country, many of them even by family links. They have understood that in this stage of history not only is it important to export Italian products, but also to take

Gabriel Cosentino, Economic and Commercial Affairs Attaché of the Italian Embassy in Havana.

into account the real needs of Cuba’s development and the reactivation of its exports, in addition to safeguarding the achievements of the Revolution. Thus, we see that the FTC, one of our Milan branches, has helped Cubans build an ice cream factory in Angola. Specifically, what is the contribution to tourism and the travel sector through the impact of tour operators, airlines, suppliers or investors? Tourism is the leading sector for the island’s economic development as well as for the cultural and social exchange between two closely related and historically linked peoples. In terms of tourist flows, after Canada and the United Kingdom, some 120,000 Italian visitors come every year. The potential is enormous, taking into account that our tourism is strongly penalized by the absence of Italian hotel chains and daily flights to Cuba. If our Concurrence Guarantor Authority were to approve the recent purchase of Blue Panorama by Alitalia, we could see a sign of the possibility of having daily and direct flights from Italy and increase the traffic of tourists to one of the world’s most charming and warm destinations.

The first meeting of the Cuba-Italy Business Committee, held last November 8 in Havana, shortly after FIHAV, and the recent BIT in Milan, thanks to the efforts of the Cuban Embassy in Rome, have shown the new and important opportunities Cuba is offering in the field of the development of tourism. Many of our companies are already involved in the construction of new hotels and new non-hotel installations, such as marinas and spas. System Costruzioni, for example, is a Modena company specializing in the construction of roofs and laminated wooden structures and represents Italian excellence in this sphere. Cuba builds, but always with the maximum respect for the environment. Which sectors of the Cuban economy have offered the most business opportunities for Italian companies? The construction industry related to the development of tourism, the major infrastructure projects in Mariel and Cienfuegos, the new law that authorizes the selling and buying of houses for Cubans and the numerous restoration projects financed by international cooperation make the construction industry the sector that, right

now, offers the greatest commercial opportunities for our companies. At the Construction Fair (FECONS 2012), which will he held April 11-14, the Italian participation will be numerous and will be increasingly dedicated to the excellence of the product, with the presence of brands like MAPEI and IBC Resigum Internacional. The Resigum, for example, won a gold medal for the quality of a product at the last edition of FIHAV and will have an area of more than 100 square meters at FECONS. The Italian ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Marco Baccin, will visit our business people’s stands to get acquainted with the new technologies and to encourage the newcomers to bet on this country. Could you give us some examples of Cuban investment projects being carried out in collaboration with Italian companies? Italy is present in two important sectors open to foreign investment: oil prospecting in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, by Saipem/ENI and Impresub; and crude oil refining in the Cienfuegos industrial center, with Technip Italy and some other Italian companies. There is great interest by the Italian party regarding a major infrastructure project in the Port of Mariel, which, once completed, should give back to tourism the magnificent port of Havana. Are there new investment projects in Italy-Cuba relations? New projects, including scientific cooperation, can emerge in the field of renewable energies. Padova Promex, the headquarters of the Standing Secretariat of the Italy-Cuba Business Committee, and ENEA are organizing the 4th Cuba-Italy Meeting on Renewable Energies, which will take place in Padua next June 19. I still remember the first meeting in 2009, organized with the collaboration of our Embassy in Havana’s beautiful Hotel Nacional. Since then, the event has increased every year and Cuba has also taken big steps in the right direction. ■




Havanatur Italy

avanatur Italy, specializing in the Cuba tourist product, is recognized in the market as a solid and professional structure that has a sales team with more than 20 years of experience. Its main venue is in Milan, Italy, with a branch in Rome. The working group also includes a team of promoters, distributed in the principal key areas, with a level that is increasing to cover the entire Italian market. Havanatur Italy is known for the exclusive sale of Cuba and is capable of offering all the tourist products in the destination, standing out for the exclusive tours and for creating tailormade programs also supported by the important operator/travel agency in Cuba, which bears the same name. The products it offers are managed with its own allotment with each charter that flies to this

destination, in addition to basing itself on the principal line flights. Havanatur Italy is part of the Havanatur SA, International Group of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies, a leader in the promotion and marketing of the largest of the Antilles for more than 30 years. Havanatur has expanded and strengthened its status as a specialized tour operator, being recognized in the world as “The Cuba Specialist.” The reputation and prestige of the tour operator is based on the excellence of services, from the specialization in the design of products to the new and increasingly more innovative forms of tourism. The highly professional culture, the or-

ganization of human resources and the force in operative logistics of the operator/travel agency activities, are fundamental elements in the philosophy of Havanatur, which is reflected and rewarded through client satisfaction. Synergy and experience have made this important Group a guarantee for spending vacations with no unforeseen events, a successful trip, an experience to be repeated. The Havanatur brand is today synonymous to authority and credit in the powerful smokeless industry, as it is known in the world of tourism. The Group is also supported by international organizations of the tourism sector in which it participates as an affiliated member, among them: the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Confederation of Latin American Tourist Organizations (COTAL) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). ■

Principal Italian Tour Operators that Market Cuba Destination More than a dozen Italian tour operators that market the Cuba destination are registered, represented or in the process of making official their registration or representation in the destination. Included in the National Registry of Travel Agencies of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba are Senza Frontiere, Sol y Med, Quick Viaggi, Distal and Eden. Working with Cubatur are Borbone Viaggi, Veratour, Viaggi del Mappamond, Adsum Italy,

Un Altro Sole, Press Tours and Lovleycuba. With Viajes Cubanacán agency, Alpitour and Cubarama. Eden Viaggi works with Gaviota Tours, mean while Havanatur Italia, with the Havanatur Cuba travel agency and tour operator. Other agencies that are properly not Italian but which also work in Cuba with Italy are: Blue Ocean Tour, Caribbean Diving Center, Travel Net, Daiquiri Tours and Sun Travel Cuba. ■



WTO and ETC Sign Agreement

CIREN in the World Interview with Dr. Juan Roca Sierra, CIREN representative in Italy for Europe


n its more than 23 years of existence, the International Neurological Restoration Center (CIREN) – founded on February 26, 1989 – has treated more than 40,000 patients from 90 countries, especially from Mexico, Portugal, Italy and Angola. In an interview with TTC, Dr. Juan Roca, CIREN representative in Italy for Europe, explained the objectives and premises of the prestigious institution. CIREN is a vanguard medical-scientific institution, with two original therapeutic programs, Neurological Rehabilitation and Biological Restoration. Continuous research contributes to the constant contribution of new knowledge and to the introduction and development of technologies in the sphere of neurological science. CIREN can be defined as a medical-scientific institution that has the goal of improving the quality of life of the patients who suffer lesions or diseases of the nervous system through new methods, multifactorial and intensive, that stimulate neuroplasticity. “The CIREN is the only one of its kind in the global sphere because of the work it carries out, in two aspects, because of the neurological recovery or of the functions lost in those patients and in the case of children for the rehabilitation of the functions that, for health reasons, they still have not been able to develop. It stands out for being the only in the world that studies the patient in depth,

ALTA Member Airlines Transpor Transport rt 13.2 Million Passengers

initially, and subsequently applies a personalized program, by objectives, with the goal of recovering all those functions that can be recovered,” Dr. Roca explained. Further on he said: “We can add that patients go to CIREN when there are possibilities of any type of recovery, no matter how minimal it is. It is a constant projection of the Center toward patients to raise their “self-value” so that they are capable of recovering or acquiring the necessary abilities for their daily life, personal or at work, and not be, as it is frequent, a burden for the family, but rather an independent person.” The Center has been able to collect excellent experience in highly complex diseases, for which many times there is no answer in the world. “We are speaking of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, in short, of all those degenerative diseases that are not cured but in which the quality of life can be improved and even block them on many occasions, to postpone their clinical manifestation,” Dr.Roca concluded. CIREN is recognized as the only center in the world capable of bringing together that scientific-professional level. This makes it possible for its patients give the best of themselves to achieve their physical and intellectual rehabilitation, which allows them to have a fast recovery. That same conceptual vision of work guarantees CIREN its world-renowned scientific successes. ■

The member airlines of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) transported, just in January of 2012, 13.2 million passengers, for an increase of 5.7% as compared to the same month in 2010. ALTA said in a communiqué that traffic registered a 6.6% increase and capacity 8.1%, with the occupancy rate going down to 77.9%,

THE WORLD Tourism Organization (WTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) signed an agreement in which they commit themselves to advancing in their joint efforts to deal with the principal problems the tourist sector is facing. “Since 2001, the WTO and ETC have cooperated closely to following up the tendencies in a tourist market that doesn’t stop changing and helping their member countries to be more competitive,” WTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said. The president of the ETC, Petra Hedorfer, explained that “a change has taken place in the tourist tendencies…which makes for Europe, the most visited destination in the world, to have much to gain from this association. The market research and studies are more important than ever.” One of the principal initiatives set in the new agreement is the creation of the Global Reflection Group of National Tourism Organizations, which will provide a forum for the heads of national agencies to find collaboration areas of common interest. The WTO and the ETC will join efforts in aspects such as: study of tendencies and markets, products and segments, marketing methodologies, comparative evaluation, sustainability and crisis management. Both parties will continue with their manuals and market studies which, until now, cover the most important markets for Europe, among them China, India, the United States and the Middle East, and matters related to branding, electronic marketing and development of products. ■

Europe has much to gain from this association. Foto: Jérôme Berquez.

1.1 percentage points less. Some of ALTA’s member airlines are: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Gol, LAN, Taca, Pluna de Uruguay, TAM, Mercosur and Volaris. Each one of them has had positive results; in fact the Boeing and Airbus manufacturers have forecasted that in the next 10 years they will be the ones to report the most

attractive numbers, which is why they will increase their orders for aircraft. In the case of Mexico, the only company that makes its information public is the Aeroméxico Group and in the first month of this year it transported 1.202 million persons, a record figure for the company during this period, the Association reported.



he Park View Hotel*** has been celebrating around these days the 10th anniversary of its reopening – February 23, 2002. Built in 1928, under the influence of the architectural currents of those times, it was one of the most luxurious hotels of Havana and one of the first to operate with U.S. capital. Marlene Padura, marketing director, said to TTC that the most important issuing markets are Germany, Holland and France, as well as Belgium and the UK, and the Russian market is growing now. The average stay is a bit over two days, the executive noted. “Actually this hotel is not for long stays, but rather for people who come to get to know Old Havana.... The average annual occupancy rate stands at around 75%,” she noted, although it fluctuates according to the season – it closed February with more than 94%. In 2011 this hotel welcomed an average of some 1,230 monthly tourist/days, equivalent to 760 physical travelers, and around 1,200 room/ days were kept occupied each month. According to Padura, they work with Cuban tour operators and travel agencies, foreign tour operators and online agencies like Hotel Beds and Cuba Travel Network, which “are among the first issuers of clients to the hotel and produce very well throughout the year.” Several agencies operate the Park View with groups (like Cubamar, which comes with circuits almost every week), but the majority is individual tourism. The hotel’s very high peak season goes from December 22 to January 2; the peak season


10th Anniversary of Park View Hotel

is defined by the January 3-April 30, July 16-August 20, November and Holy Week period; and the low one, May-July 15, August 21-October 31 and December 1-21. The seven-floor building has 55 standard rooms with AC, private bathroom, safety deposit box, satellite TV, telephone and mini bar. It has the Prado Restaurant Bar and the Cocktail Lounge that’s open round the clock. Its services include porter, luggage repository, tourism desk, cybercafé and parking.

Property of Habaguanex S.A., the Park View is the company’s most inexpensive hotel. With a warm atmosphere, agreeable decoration and modest furniture, it stands out for its central location, where old and modern Havana join, near the Museum of Fine Arts, the former Presidential Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Malecón seaside drive. ■ Calle Colón esq. a Morro, Old Havana Tel: (537) 861 3293

LA BODEGUITA DEL MEDIO BarRestaurant, one of the most emblematic and bohemian spots of the Cuban capital, is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its foundation on April 26. The cultural element that distinguishes it, and which has greatly contributed to its universal fame, is its patrons’ habitual imprint for seven decades on its walls, already full of signatures, autographs, poems, messages and photos. Other traits that typify it are the Mojito, the home drink, and the menu featuring typical Cuban cuisine dishes. Its genesis dates back to the Casa Martínez Bodega – founded by its owner Angel Martínez, already deceased, in 1942 – which changed its name to La Bodeguita del Medio on April 26, 1950. It has been visited

La Bodeguita del Medio Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

by famous persons from all times and places…Ernest Hemingway, Mario Benedetti, Pablo Neruda, Errol Flynn, Wifredo Lam, René Portocarrero, Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier, Agustín Lara, Brigitte Bardot, Nicolás Guillén, Pablo Milanés, Silvio Rodríguez.

The campaign for the 70th Anniversary comprises, among other actions: holding the First La B del M International Workshop on Services Management, with the presence of representatives of the franchises; recognition of distinguished patrons; production of a CD with the 20 most requested themes at La Bodeguita, including Una flor en La Habana, a song composed for the occasion by singer-songwriter Raidel Iglesias. To round off, there will be a gala supper on the 26th, along with the recognition of founding workers and with 15, 20 and 25 years of service. There is also the La B del M Around the World photo exhibit on the establishments representing the trade brand abroad; and the screening of the documentary Historia sobre la significación de La B del M para la cultura cubana (History of the Importance of La B del M for Cuban Culture). A flagship installation of the Palmares Non-Hotel Business Group, La B del M has franchises in Mexico, Lebanon, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Ukraine and Australia. ■