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International Tourism Publication founded in 1996 Year XII • Issue 213 • October 2012 • Regular Edition • www.traveltradecaribbean.com • 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

Italian Businesspeople in Cuba Interview with Mr. Massimo Bonanno, vice president of the Italian section of the Cuba-Italy Business Committee.

WITH 39 Italian offices accredited in Cuba, Italy ranked eighth and is still the second partner of the island in the European Union, concentrating 10.7% of trade with this geo-

graphic area. Apropos this, Mr. Massimo Bonanno, vice president of the Italian section of the Cuba-Italy Business Committee (CIBC), has given an interview to TTC. 6

Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.

Italians: Benvenuto to the Caribbean, Which Doesn’t Like Arrivederci STRICTLY SPEAKING, there isn’t an “Italian Caribbean”, like the English- or French-speaking one, but since far-off times Italians have left

their cultural imprint in this part of the New World admired today by international tourists, including those who come from Italy. 20

Turks and Caicos. Photo: Bill M. Campbell.

Seven Caribbean Beach Destinations among the World’s Best THE PRESTIGIOUS TripAdvisor portal ranked seven Caribbean sun and beach destinations among the 10 first worldwide. The digital site, which draws its conclusions from opinions sent by clients, awarded the topmost prize granted in the category of Top Beach Destinations in the World of the Travellers Choice 2012 to: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba; Tulum, Mexico; Negril, Jamaica; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Varadero, Cuba.

Italian Team Wins Prize at Hemingway Tournament

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International Events in the Caribbean

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Referents of Italian Culture in Cuba

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New Air Connections in the Caribbean

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Comparing Caribbean Countries

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Cruise Tourism in the Caribbean, a Multidestination Offer With more than 20 million tourists who visited the Caribbean region in 2011, and an offer of more than 7,000 routes, the Greater Caribbean is the first world cruise basin. More than 150 ships (more than half of the world’s fleet) have toured this maritime space of more than 4.2 million km 2 , shared by 34 states and territories, around the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. 4


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

BLUE PANORAMA AIRLINES NEWS

Via Galileo Galilei, 47 20092 Cinisello Balsamo, Mi Tel. +39 02 36649575 Fax +39 02 36649576 E-mail italia@traveltradecaribbean.com commerciale.it@gmail.com Web www.traveltradecaribbean.com Honorary President Renzo DRUETTO Principal Director Giuseppe FERRARIS General Director Alfredo RODRÍGUEZ director@traveltradecaribbean.com Marketing Director Jesús RODRÍGUEZ jrd@traveltradecaribbean.com

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s for the leisure of long and medium-range, Blue Panorama Airlines proposes to «2012 TTG Incontri» of Rimini for the next Winter season, a commercial plan suited to current volumes of Italian market which, over the past two years for a variety of reasons, has undergone a reduction in demand. Respecting its tradition Blue Panorama will present a program for the main Caribbean destinations-Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica and Nicaragua, which appears as a real hub for all the Central America-not forgetting the East Africa, with Kenya and Tanzania. To the East the carrier will operate from Milan Malpensa in Thailand with two weekly services. For the long haul, Cuba has a particular evidence, for the winter season of 7 weekly frequencies from Milan, Rome and Verona to all major airports in Cuba-Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Cayo Largo, Havana. A result achieved thanks to close cooperation of Blue Panorama with the best Italian tour operators and market deployment of Distal & Itr Group (the general sales agent of the company). An operational programme that confirms the decennial leadership on Isla Grande by the Italian carrier, which recently renovated-for the eleventh consecutive year-its commercial alliance with Cubana de Aviación. For the medium-

haul the Egypt is undoubtedly the main destination of Blue Panorama. As we remember for every occasion our company reserves every year for Egypt the highest capacity most days demanded by the market, serving it by many Italian airports from North to South. Blue Panorama indeed was the first company to believe and to operate flights on Marsa Alam, today among the most popular tourist centres of the Red Sea. For the future, the company expects to restore the link to Luxor, in collaboration with tour operators who plan the Nile Cruises: Blue Panorama believes that can’t miss in its programming the service to the airport from which begins one of the most fascinating travel programs around the world. With regard to technology investments the Blue Panorama Airlines Group put in the yard a system able to offer its customers a better service both on board and on the ground at airports. In this regard will be completed shortly tests for the online publication on our sites www.blue-panorama.com and www.blu-express.com of a mode by adding ancillary services much more appealing and user friendly, which will allow our passengers to buy in just a few clicks on our web platform hotel, car hire, parking and insurance. Last but not least, Blu-express, the low cost of Blue Panorama Airlines, is studying for several months the best technological solution in order to allow passengers to choose the place on board for a small fee, welcoming the considerable interest of our passengers for this service. ■

Editorial Staff for Italy Tiziana SETTANNI redazione.italia@traveltradecaribbean.com ttc.italia@gmail.com Tel.: +39 02 36540545 Editorial Staff for Cuba Josefina PICHARDO redaccion@traveltradecaribbean.com Design Andro Liuben PÉREZ DIZ androliuben@traveltradecaribbean.com Digital News Services Frank MARTÍN Webmaster Ariel ESTRADA webmaster@traveltradecaribbean.com Collaboration and Marketing Ana Cecilia HERRERA anac@traveltradecaribbean.com Dagmara BLANCO / Orlando OJEDA dagmara@traveltradecaribbean.com orlando.ojeda@traveltradecaribbean.com Ernesto L. RODRÍGUEZ ernesto@traveltradecaribbean.com Magdalena GARCÍA magda@enet.cu María E. LEYVA mariae.leyva@traveltradecaribbean.com Silvia I. ALFONSO silvia@traveltradecaribbean.com Zoe ALFONSO zoe@traveltradecaribbean.com Mercedes GUILLOT Printer Officina Grafica S.R.L. Registered at the Milan Court under the number 166. 13/03/2002. Publicity 45%. Property of Travel

Blu-express, the low cost of Blue Panorama Airlines.

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.


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Cruise Tourism in the Caribbean, a Multidestination Offer ■ Dr. Jose Luis Perelló Doctor in Economic Sciences, Master in Tourism Management. Full Professor of the Faculty of Tourism, University of Havana, Consultant for the National Chamber of Tourism of Honduras (CANATURH) and the International Centre of Havana (CIH).

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n this scenario, the Caribbean’s popularity, especially as a cruise destination, is due to its singular geography. In the Caribbean Basin, the constant proximity between land and sea offers an ideal pace for cruise ships. Especially the short distances between islands, that rarely exceed 200 km, are toured through a marvelous and entertaining nocturnal navigation followed on land by day excursions spent between exuberant beaches, conserved nature and an extraordinary medley of cultures and exoticism. The U.S. peninsula of Florida to the north, Yucatan to the west, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten to the east, form an extensive triangle in which 75% of the Caribbean tourist activity is centered, which includes the principal destinations of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Thanks to the excellent air connections from the United States on the one hand and the European countries on the other, the ports of San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Bridgetown (Barbados) are asserted as the two important sub-regional hubs and are responsible for 55% of the cruise departures in the Eastern Caribbean. On another level we find Charlotte Amalie (U.S. Virgin Islands), Philipsburg (Sint Maarten) and Saint John’s (Antigua), which assume a role as home ports, but secondary and punctual, despite their advantageous situation at the beginning of the arch of the Lesser Antilles. On the Central American edge, Belize City, taking advantage of the relative proximity of Cozumel (Yucatan), appears as the farthest destination used by the major cruise companies. In the Greater Caribbean, Central America is playing an increasingly bigger role, with a growth rate of cruise passenger visits that has increased at a rate of 38% starting 2000.

The Boudicca cruise ship docked in the port of Santiago de Cuba, coming from Jamaica with 762 British passengers. Photo: Miguel Rubiera

While the insular destinations like Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Bahamas continue receiving passengers on a large scale, a sector of the tourist market is seeking increasingly more exotic and little known destinations. To meet that demand, the cruise lines have ex-

tended their routes to countries of the Central American Caribbean. A clear opportunity is the proximity to the Panama Canal. which in itself is an attraction while making Central America a natural destination for cruise ships crossing the oceans in search of the Caribbean’s beautiful beaches and its paradisiacal sites. For Honduras tourism is the third sources of hard currency income. after the maquiladoras and family remittances. Costa Rica. internationally famous for its great diversity and concentration of natural resources. has in tourism its first generating source of hard currency. Through a strategy directed at attracting sustainable tourism or of greater added value. which combines elements like the environment. profitability and the generation of jobs. this country has been able to position itself in the world market as a safe destination rich in natural beauties. As to natural resources with a high tourist attraction. Belize and Honduras have the Mesoamerican Coral Reef. one of the world’s best. The growth in the demand for cruise trips worldwide is partly due to the unique tourism model they represent. Nowadays. cruise ships offer a great variety of activities that attract tourists with very varied characteristics and motivations (age. residence. status and interests). Taking into account certain global events like terrorism. wars. epidemics. among others. traveling on cruise ships is perceived as a safe and easy option for vacationing. The cruise ship lines will continue captivating and having new passengers. and for the new tourism it represents the best multidestination tourist offer. ■

CRUISE PASSENGER AND TOURIST ARRIVALS TO THE CARIBBEAN 1996-2010 (THOUSANDS) 1996

2000

2005

2007

2008

2009

2010

14,400

17,086

18,810

19,769

20, 056

19, 598

20,121

Arrival of cruise passengers (thousands)

9,992

12,955

16,189

15,233

14,104

16,480

16,896

Total visitors to the Caribbean

24,392

30,041

34,999

35,002

34,160

36,078

37,017

Arrival of tourists (thousands)

SOURCE: DRAWN UP BY THE AUTHOR BASED ON FIGURES OF THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION AND THE WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION.

CRUISE TOURISM INDICATORS IN THE PRINCIPAL INSULAR DESTINATIONS Cruise passenger arrivals (thousands) 1996

2000

2005

2007

2008

2009

2010

Cruise visitors rate 2010

1687 1316 800 657 1025 658 9992

2512 1768 1031 868 1302 908 12955

3350 1913 1799 1488 1315 1136 16189

2645 1918 1716 1107 1126 1180 15233

2527 1757 1553 1024 1127 1089 14104

3256 1582 1520 1215 950 922 16480

3803 1858 1598 1516 955 910 16896

0,735 0,729 0,847 0,778 0,411 0,321 0,457

Destinations Bahamas U.S. Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Sint Maarten Puerto Rico

Jamaica Insular Caribbean total

SOURCE: DRAWN UP BY THE AUTHOR BASED ON FIGURES OF THE OFFICES OF STATISTICS OF THE DESTINATIONS AND THE WTO.

Mean Annual Growth

2010-2009 growth

96/00

00/05

05/10

00/10

16,8 17,5 5,1 24,5 0,6 8,3 3,1

10 7,6 6,5 7,2 6,1 8,6 6,7

5,9 1,5 11 11 0,1 4,5 4,5

2,5 0 -2 0,3 -6 -4 0,8

4,2 0,4 4,4 5,7 -3 0 2,6


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

High Distinction for Alicia Alonso in Italy PRIMA BALLERINA INA assoluta Alicia Alonso, director of the National Ballet et of Cuba, received the topmost ost category distinction of the he Positano de la Danza Award, one of Europe’s most important. The “Award for thee entire Artistic Career” was unanimously conferred on her er by a jury made up of criticss worldwide like Clement Crisp, sp, from the United Kingdom; Anna Kisselgoff, from the United States; René Sirvin, from France; and Alfio Agostini, from om Italy, among other personalities, according ing to the Press Deepartment of thee National Ballet of Cuba. ■

Italian Team Wins Prize at Hemingway Tournament

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team of Italian fishers won the prize for the capture of the “Largest Dorado” of the 62nd Ernest Hemingway International Marlin Fishing Tournament when it caught the largest dorado fish, weighing 16.8 pounds, on the first day. On board the DC-9-III and headed by Oliviero Saltarelli, the Italian team was also made up by Simone Saltarelli and Alessandro Saltarelli and the Cubans Nicolás Céspedes and Luis Orlando González. “We of course hope to be able to also participate next year [referring to the next edition of the abovementioned Tournament, June 3-7, 2013],” they affirmed in an interview given to TTC. Oliviero said to TTC: “I am very happy to have been able to participate; it is the first time that we come to the Tournament although I had already had other experiences fishing for tuna and other difficult to

catch fish, but this is my first experience of this type and I must say that it had a positive impact on me.” Meanwhile, Simone reaffirmed the team’s feelings when she said that “We are happy to have captured the largest dorado and to have won the prize, therefore we are returning to Italy also taking with us a material memory of our experience. We are especially pleased to be here in Cuba with many Cuban friends and to have participated in this international competition, where crews from around the world vie.” Alessandro backs what was said by his team mates: “There’s not much to add. That’s the way we feel: the happiness of having won the prize, of being here with other persons of different nationalities, of competing for a common objective, with a sporting spirit, in friendship, for something so beautiful, respecting nature.” ■


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Italian Businesspeople in Cuba Cuba, art and fashion, the Italian Culture Week. Moreover, it takes care of relations with the countries members of ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America] and supports the NGOs present in Cuba. A Convention on Sustainable TourMr. Bonanno, how is the Cuba-Italy ism was held in Havana in the Hotel Business Committee made up? Nacional and in the ICAP [Cuban InThe CIBC is approved and regisstitute of Friendship with the Peoples] tered by the Foreign Ministries of Cuba Friendship House a Bilateral Meeting and Italy. On the Cuban side it is repreon Cooperation; and in Padova, the sented by the Chamber of Commerce Meeting on Alternative Energy Sourcof Cuba and the Italian part is officially es. Bilateral meetings for the developdivided into two: the first, in Italy, in ment of trade with Cuba are taking Padova PROMEX, where the compaplace through institutional agencies in Italy in the country’s provincial and renies and businesspeople resident in Itgional territories. aly meet, and the second, the GIIAC, In which spheres of the Cuban econobased in the Italian Embassy in Hamy are the largest deals by Italian busivana, where the Italian companies and nesspeople concentrated? businesspeople resident in Cuba meet. Italian businesspeople cover almost What role does it play in Cuba-Italy all the spheres of the Cuban economy, economic-commercial relations? It is fundamental for the develop- Mr. Massimo Bonanno, vice president of the Italian section of the Cuba- although they are mainly concentrated in the construction, tourism, automoment of all the Italy-Cuba bilateral ac- Italy Business Committee. Photo: TTC bile, energy and food sectors. tivities; it works closely with the Italian Could you specifically refer to the businesses in the tourist sector? Embassy and doesn’t just deal with economic and financial issues, rather In the tourist sector the interest is being focused on the new areas of it also supports the cultural activities, like the Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit, the concert in honor of Luciano Pavarotti in the National Theater of the country’s real estate tourist development, combined with the creation of golf courses, marinas and equestrian fields. The idea is to form a consortium of Italian companies that can bring together all the activities and synergies involved in each project from start to finish, which includes the management and development of all the activities. What are Italy’s projections for the 30th International Havana Trade Fair? Italy’s participation in the 2012 Fair will be very important. Our presence in this edition of FIHAV will increase much more than previewed, which is why work in underway in additional solutions in case the Italian pavilion cannot cover the need for space demanded by the participating companies. The idea and principal focus is to bring to Cuba Italian delegations of companies and institutions to develop, within the framework of the fair, bilateral meetings with Cuban companies and institutions. Moreover, meetings with representatives of the ALBA countries and others like Brazil, Uruguay and Peru are being organized. Would you like to add some reflections? With respect to myself, I am vice president of the CIBC and president of GIIAC, and I have been living and working in Cuba for 18 years; my principal activity is FINAUTO INTERNATIONAL, a distributor of several brands of vehicles like SsangYong, Daewoo Bus and Kia Motor, with which we have had good results this year. They have a very good position in the tourist sector and stood out mainly for Cubacar/Havanautos car rentals. In our group we also have the Caribbean Diving Center tour operator, travel agencies registered in the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, of which I am the president. The group is dedicated to the development of Cuban tourism in several Latin American and European countries, it provides its clients with the possibility of getting to know Cuba; we offer them scuba diving, personalized assistance, activities in marinas, fishing, business tourism and other modalities. In short, my work life is dedicated to supporting the economy and development of Cuba within my possibilities and reach, aware of all the difficulties the world economy is going through nowadays and the effect that this has on the country, which is not alien to this crisis that is seriously affecting everyone, in which the weakest are most affected. ■

Interview with Mr. Massimo Bonanno, vice president of the Italian section of the Cuba-Italy Business Committee.


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

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he International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which has more than 900 members in 87 countries, has published its statistics for the international events in 2011. For this information only those meetings controlled by the Association are taken into account and which amount to 10,513 events that meet the following requirements:

International Events in the Caribbean

▶ Rotate among at least three countries ▶ Have more than 50 participants ▶ Be periodically organized In 2011, a total of 10,070 events carried out were reported, which involved a total estimated number of 5,520,722 participants and a total cost in the events of more than USD 13.7 million. In the Latin American region, in which the Caribbean is included, 10.5% of the total events reported by ICCA in 2011 were carried out, representing an important increase if compared to the 7.2% in 2002, showing a sustained growth. This increase has represented for the region an estimated 519,484 participants, 9.4% of the total. In the report one can see that the events in Latin America have increased, from 443 in 2002 to 1,056 in 2011, and have decreased their average of participants, from 714 in 2002 to 491 in 2011, whose annual variation is as follows:1 Year Events Average of participants

2002 443 714

2003 545 814

The Caribbean islands are included in the figures for 20112, although only four countries – Jamaica. Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico – appear in the ICCA ranking, since the rest have four or less international events. These countries show a completely different performance 1 2

Source: ICCA Statistic Report 20022011 Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Puerto Rican Convention Center, considered the largest of its kind and the most technologically advanced in the Caribbean.

■ Regino M. Cruz Events organizer (1994-1997), principal marketing specialist of the Conventions Bureau of Cuba until December 2011, executive secretary of the Association of Conventions Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean (LatinCaribeBureau) (1998-2000) and its vice president since December 2000 until its disappearance in 2002.

among each other, in the amount of events received in the last decade. Jamaica has continued receiving a modest number of events although the results of the strong campaign that country is carrying out as an events destination is starting to be seen; in 2010 and 2011 it received seven and five events, respectively. Cuba has shown a different tendency regarding the rest of the 2004 626 700

2005 728 637

Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Cuba Jamaica San Juan Santo Domingo Havana

2006 802 618

2007 884 550

Caribbean countries with a sizeable reduction in the number of international events registered by ICCA: from 33 events in 2003 and 2005 to the 11 reported in 2010 and 2011. In the case of the Dominican Republic it is showing ups and downs but with a growth tendency, going from eight events in 2002 to 24 in 2011. Puerto Rico maintained similar figures until 2005; it had a sig2008 948 660

2009 1020 573

2010 1017 541

2011 1056 491

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 14 12 13 13 19 17 13 15 8 30 8 19 16 15 21 29 16 15 23 24 21 33 23 33 23 21 14 16 11 11 2 7 6 5 6 4 6 5 7 5 10 10 11 10 14 11 10 12 7 25 5 11 12 9 13 21 11 9 11 13 20 31 21 28 20 18 13 16 10 10

SOURCE: ICCA STATISTIC REPORT 2002-2011

nificant increase in 2006 when it hosted 19 events, coinciding with the opening of the Puerto Rico Convention Center in November of the previous year, which is considered the largest and most technologically advanced Convention Center in the Caribbean. Starting that year, the number of events began decreasing again until in 2011 it jumped to 30, which is the largest amount of international events registered by ICCA for that country. Meanwhile, the respective capitals of Havana, Santo Domingo and San Juan show a similar performance to the country’s global one. It is significant to see how in the Dominican Republic a change of destination has taken place when a growing number of events were held outside the capital. In the case of Kingston, it does not appear registered since less than five events were reported. The following table sums up the performance of these countries and their capitals between 2002 and 2011. The analysis of these figures clearly shows the tendency existing in the Caribbean, as well as in Latin America, toward a constant growth of the venues of events attracted for the region, as a consequence of greater promotion actions from the region’s countries, as a destination for congresses and conventions. ■


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France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada – which recently joined with great interest – are the first five issuing countries of ecotourists to Cuba. The most valued elements for the clients of this product are: conservation of the environment, the people’s charisma and the guides’ work. Compared to other tourist modalities, this is a stable year-round reception segment. The greatest amount of nature offers is concentrated in Viñales and Mil Cumbres, Zapata Peninsula, Hanabanilla, Topes de Collantes, Alturas de Banai, the Turquino and Desembarco del Granma national parks (south of Granma province) and Baracoa. With the aim of promoting this modality, the first version of the digital catalogue El Turismo de Naturaleza en Cuba (Nature Tourism in Cuba) was presented by Zady Abud Morejón, general manager of the ECOTUR Travel Agency.

TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Cuba’s Nature Tourism Product

The portfolio listed in the Catalogue comprises: ▶ Hiking – More than 100 paths, tours and walks in protected areas of different categories, with an average of 7–12 km per day ▶ Trekking – Two-day minimum duration and accommodations in the area ▶ Bird watching – 10- and 16-day programs for a maximum of 10 pax, recommended from November to April ▶ Horseback riding – From 1½ to 3 hours ▶ Cycling tourism – 7-, 10- and 16-day circuits ▶ Sport fishing – In fresh and salt water, in the modality of tag and release ▶ Accommodations in natural environments ▶ Other: Zeppelin Bike Tour, Speleotourism, Rural Tourism, Visits to Criaderos Zoo, Jeep Safari throughout Cuba. ■


TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Caruso’s Passage Through Cuba

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n May 5, 1920, on board the ship Miami, one of the greatest and most famous interpreters of Italian romantic opera, Enrico Caruso (Naples, 1873-1921) arrived in Havana. This was his only visit to Cuba, where he would give 10 performances to a full house, barely a year before humanity saw him disappear from the stage. In Havana there was an intense interest in hearing the Italian star who held the glorious title of the world’s foremost tenor. Before the signs were put up for the inaugural function, all the seats were taken. He made his debut in the National Theater of Havana on May 12, with the opera Martha – a master work by Count Friedrich Flotow, which had not been performed in that city for a long time -, accompanied by María Barrientos. His debut was described as an unprecedented theater event because of its magnificence and brilliance. In other performances he interpreted L’elisir d’amore, Tosca, Pagliacci, Carmen and Aida. He also performed in La Caridad and Terry theaters in the cities of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos, respectively. He was paid tribute and received the Diploma of Honorary Member of the Press Association and a gold medal as a memento of his performance in Havana. Signed up, together with a cast of stars from the Metropolitan Opera House, by Italian impresario Adolfo Bracale, Caruso arrived in Cuba on the threshold of a mortal disease; however, his excellent performance would move Havana audiences and he was greatly praised by the local press. He gave visible signs of the emotion that overwhelmed him. Caruso enjoyed his stay in Cuba attending all the cultural gatherings there were. He was invited to a Havana with an intense cultural life, precisely when excellent singers and composers had emerged and the opera was enjoying a great boom. While in the Cuban capital, he stayed at the Sevilla Hotel, in whose history he heads the list of illustrious guests. ■

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Referents of Italian Culture in Cuba. Foundations for a Cultural Tourism Product of Great Impact ■ Roberto Pastor Raola Bachelor’s degree in History of Art from the University of Havana, Master in Cultural Promotion from the Fernando Ortiz House of Higher Studies, University of Havana. Professor of Cultural Tourism, Faculty of Tourism, University of Havana and Formatur.

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t is Thursday, October 12, 1492 and Admiral Christopher Columbus has sighted the coasts of Cuba…. Faced by so much natural beauty he exclaims: “This is the most beautiful land….” What the singular Genovese could not imagine was that with the passing of time that beautiful island would become an extraordinary place, full of natural charms and with an astonishing cultural wealth, the product of a long and fruitful transcultural process, in which the Italian contribution was also present through the migration flow in the 20th century. The imprint of Italian artists that embellish the cultural landscape of many of thee country’s localities stands nds out. Italy is one ne of the world’s mostt important issuers of tourists, ts, around 70% of its trips’ destination ination is in Europe; it has been one of the countries tries that maintain an important presence in Cuba, based on n the the number of Italian visitors itors to the Caribbean bean (essentially the he Italian presesence is stronongest in Cuba and the Dominican nican Republic). Today, the Italian market ranks between etween third and fourth ourth place in terms ms of Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Country Canada United Kingdom Spain Italy Germany

Italian visitors to Cuba 169 317 144 249 134 298 126 042 118 347 112 298 110 432

Ranking of the first five issuers to Cuba 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

arrivals to Cuba, figures that show that the Italian presence is a tangible and sustained fact, and with a very high potential. A characterization on the profile of the Italian market reveals that roughly 81% of the Italians who visit Cuba are aged between 25 and 59 and 8.1% is 60 years old and over. Regarding the motivation, 64% prefers sun and beach and 31.5% history, culture and nature. The principal visited destinations are Havana, Camagüey (Santa Lucía), Cayo Largo, Varadero, Jardines del Rey and Santiago de Cuba. Boosting cultural tourism in a hybrid dimension can be key to encouraging en more the presence of the Itali Italian market, especially the sector with tthe biggest cultural bent. The idea stems from taking advanwith intention of product tage w the Italian referents in Cuban culture to create prodba ucts with a great symbolu ic impact. For this it is indispensable to establish a coherent and balaanced amalgam between the typical leisure reasons of culture/fun. cultur the design of the prodIn th uct, th the essential premise lies in adopting some of the models in adopt existence for the construction exist of eexperiences like those of Clairborne, Pine & Gilmore, Clai Sch Schmit, Tabe, among others, wh where the basic results is the tra transformation, on the level of perception, of the referent in symbolic experience, for which the following is con constant: involving senses/ sen sensations, design and managem agement of brands or human trac tracks and their relationship with the actions One of the statues at the of spectators/particientrance to the Capitol pants. building and the statue Then, the tourism of the Republic in its inthat hybridizes the terior, the work of Italian cultural with enjoysculptor Angelo Zanelli. ment presents some

complexity in its making and more so in its placing in value, but it is not impossible. To illustrate the ideas presented, we will place at the disposal of readers, for the time being, the existing and current referents of Italian origin related to the cultural dynamic in Havana. The tour begins with the Fountain of India or Noble Havana, by sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini. The soothing feminine figure, the four dolphins and the pedestal were made in Italy in white Carrara marble. Critics admit the beauty of the sculpture – which symbolizes Havana. However, certain Greco-Roman elements stand out in what “should” have had an indigenous phenotype, a controversial aspect that adds interest to the referent. The fountain is visually related to the Havana Capitol building, located a few meters away, a monumental construction of the 1920s,


TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Fountain of India or Noble Havana, by sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini.

where the Statue of the Republic is located – 11.50 meters high, from the plinth to the head, and with a total weight of 30 tons – by sculptor Angelo Zanelli, the author of statues that stand at the top of the staircase dedicated to the Tutelary Virtue and Progress, as well as the friezes of the portico. Zanelli had made in Italy the Altar of the Homeland in the monument to Emmanuel II in Rome.

A few steps from that monumental work is another of singular neo-Baroque appearance, the Grand Theater of Havana, on whose main façade one sees four sculptural groups in white marble that represent allegories of Charity, Education, Music and Theater, works done by sculptor Giuseppe Moretti. Another referent is the invention of Italian Antonio Meucci, of four mechanical jacks that make it possible to level the area of the

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premises or the theater plant to increase the dancing space. Crossing the avenue one comes to Central Park, centered by the monument to José Martí by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Neri, ordered by Cuban sculptor José Vilalta Saavedra. Very nearby is the prestigious National Museum of Fine Arts, an institution that amasses an important collection of Italian art that documents artistic periods like the Renaissance with the works of Luca della Robbia and Vittore Carpaccio; Mannerism with Bronzino Jacopo, Bassano and Tintoretto; the Baroque with exponents like Annibale Carracci and Mattia Preti. Works by Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico and Valerio Adami, among others, are conserved in this museum. Along the Paseo del Prado, heading toward the Malecón, stand two groups of sculptures of significant importance for Cubans: the monuments to Generalissimo Máximo Gómez, head of the Liberation Army, and that of Antonio Maceo, the Bronze Titan, by Italian sculptors Aldo Gamba and Domenico Boni, respectively. Towards the west of the city is the barrio of Pogolotti, founded by Dino Pogolotti from Piedmont, father of Cuban vanguard painter Marcelo Pogolotti. Advancing toward to beaches in Marianao, one reaches the National Art Schools and the Higher Institute of Art, located in a spectacular architectural whole, in which the Faculty of Scenic Arts, by architect Roberto Gottardi, and the Ballet School, by Vittorio Garatti, both Italian, stand out. ■


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Italian Tour Operators in Cuba M

ore than a dozen Italian travel agencies operate in Cuba, whether registered in the National Registry of Travel Agencies of the Chamber of Commerce or represented by Cuban travel agencies and tour operators. Some of their novelties for this season are being presented in this article. Press Tours…30 years of passion and knowledge. The most complete and diverse programs in a more than 100-page catalogue exclusively dedicated to Cuba offer a tailor-made trip, according to your rhythm, budget, imagination and traveling wishes. Vacations can be designed in real time on PressTours.it to enjoy all of Cuba’s charms thanks to the updated and detailed information about places, hotels and exclusive tours, accompanied by photo galleries and virtual visits. Each day Cuba holds a special place in the social networks of Press Tours: videos on Youtube, news on the blog, novelties and exchange of comments on Facebook and Twitter. The Cuba of Press Tours represents beach vacations, tours to discover the island’s culture, ecology, scuba diving, ethnic tourism, golf, luxury and wellbeing, honeymoons, plus the ExploraCafe with its exclusive and free Program of Events. Travelnet Cuba is a tour operator and travel agency based in Havana and present in the country’s principal tourist destinations (Playas del Este, Varadero, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Cayo Largo and Cayo Coco. In Cuba since 1994, the Italian property is supported by a team of Italian-Cuban professionals who offer incoming services to important Italian tour operators, for which it guarantees attention and a personalized service. The success of the tour operators managed by Travelnet in the Cuba destination is its principal objective. For some years now, Travelnet Cuba has developed online sales through the www.travelnetcuba.com website, which offers hotel booking services throughout the island, car rentals, exclusive tours or group vacations, in addition to activities for kitesurfing and windsurfing lovers, who will be able to even participate in the courses organized by the Varadero school, www.cubakiters.com. Borbone Viajes is a specialized tour operator present for almost 20 years in Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. With respect to Cuba, when visiting the www.viaggicuba.it website you can find on its principal page marvelous offers for all needs, which include organized trips, one-day excursions, the fly&drive, Driving Cuba program (flight, car and open hotel voucher) vacations and the renting of villas, discounts for the beautiful beaches of Cayo Coco and Playas del Este and the opportunity

to participate in important events like the digital Cuba Health and Nature. Lovelycuba, the specialized tour operator in the Caribbean destination, is at the disposition of all the travel agencies that have demanding clients who want more than the classical flight + beach stay package, but rather want to book a personalized trip with stops chosen by them in any city hotel, in a nature or beach environment, with a guide or individually, and car rental. The Milan-based tour operator has its own office for the booking and service to clients in the center of the Cuban capital with Italian and Cuban personnel. The website www.lovelycuba.com is a veritable portal dedicated to Cuba. The personalized Havana + beach destinations combinations (Varadero, Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Largo) are special and interesting. The novelty for the close of 2012 is the creation of a new brand, Old Mexico Travel, born to propose the Mexico destination with the same care and attention reserved for Cuba, with the possibility of personalized Cuba + Mexico offers. Sol y Med, representative of the Palco (Convention Center) Group in Italy, is the reference agency between Italy and Cuba for the organization of congresses, events, incentives and international fairs. With an accumulated experience of almost 20 years of uninterrupted work, Sol y Med offers assistance in Italy and Cuba to the companies, association, public and private institutions which request participation in the diverse commercial, scientific and cultural manifestations included in the annual calendar. Outstanding in 2013 is the International Congress of the World Federation of Thermalism (FEMTEC). It also assists the parties interested in Cuban medicine and its medical institutions, through the network of International Medical Services of Cuba. The necessary information to have access to medical and quality of life and well-

We invite you to get to know Cuba, a fascinating island.

being treatments can be found in the portal Healthincuba. Eden Viaggi. In an interview with TTC, Eden Viaggi’s representative in Cuba, Mr. Víctor Moreno, highlighted the company’s perspectives for Cuba: it is getting ready for the 2012-2013 season with new products in the programming that enrich the offers referring to Cuba, like Varadero’s Patriarca Hotel; but it is also developing the tour market to make known the benefits of this marvelous destination and offer not just a sun and beach product, but also cultural tourism. “For those who want to quench their taste for the cays, we offer Eden Village, recently renovated, in which the Made in Italy culture is combined with the unique beauty of Cayo Largo del Sur, a paradise loved by Italians and which Eden, as the destination’s leader, presides over with direct flights of the Blue Panorama company. We invite you to get to know this fascinating island and wish you an Until soon! in one of the Eden installations of the Caribbean catalogue.” ■ www.presstours.it www.travelnetcuba.com www.viaggicuba.it www.lovelycuba.com www.solymedtravel.net www.healthincuba.com www.edenviaggi.it


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

FITCuba 2013 Announced

T

he 33rd International Tourism Fair, FITCuba 2013, has been announced for May 7-10 next year. Dedicated to the Sun and Beach product, its venue will be Varadero beach resort and Brazil will be the guest country of honor. Varadero has in fact well earned its condition as host since it is the Cuban destination that receives the most vacationers, more than a million a year.

Sun and beach tourism maintains its predominance on the island; 71% of the hotels are associated to that modality, which attracted 72% of Cuba’s tourist income last year. Meanwhile, Brazil is one of the fastest growing emerging markets. It closed the January-July 2012 list in 17th place in the ranking of arrivals, 1.5% more than the same period in 2011. ■

NEW AIR CONNECTIONS IN THE CARIBBEAN MORE AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHTS TO ST. KITTS American Airlines announced that next November it will add two frequencies to the route that operates a non-stop daily regular flight between Miami and the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport in St. Kitts. This will increase to nine the total flights between Florida and the Caribbean island. The two new flights will operate on Fridays and Sundays. INTERJET PLANS TO FLY BETWEEN MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA Before the end of the year, the Mexican Interjet has plans to fly between Mexico and California. The aim is to arrive at the John Wayne Airport to service the metropolitan area of Los Angeles.

St. Kitts.

LAN AND TAM TO BEGIN FLYING WITH MEXICO LAN Airlines and TAM will begin their connections with Mexico starting October. For 2013, a greater movement of passengers is expected and Mexico will have better connections with other countries in the region like Peru and Brazil, as well as with the European continent.

WINAIR RESUMES ST. MAARTEN AND ST KITTS ROUTE The Caribbean airline Winair will resume next October 29 regular flights between St. Maarten and St. Kitts with flights that arrive and depart from Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten, from and to the North American and European markets. Parallel to this, the airline will reintroduce domestic flights between St. Kitts and the island of Nevis.

New Condor Catalogue CONDOR will present at TTG the new catalogue for the 20122013 winter season. The program will focus on the long-distance destinations in which the Rimini tour operator has specialized: • Kenya and Zanzibar (Western Africa and the Indian Ocean) • Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica and Dominican Republic (Caribbean) A new pricing (modified with respect to the advance published in July) based on proven efficiency formulas: • GMP (Guaranteed Minimum Price) • NAP (Non-adaptable Price) The introduction of the different hotels with specific dates for the Happy Family (when the children pay a fixed rate): • CH Barracuda Beach Resort, CH Aquarius Beach Resort and Sandies Coconut Village, in Kenya • Palumbo Reef Resort, in Zanzibar • Atlántico, in Havana, and Iberostar Tainos, in Varadero • Gran Bahía Príncipe Tulum, Iberostar Quetzal and Viva Wyndham Maya, in Mexico • Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, Gran Bahía Príncipe Punta Cana, Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus and Iberostar Punta Cana. We have maintained our Condor House (CH) brand which has achieved great success in the last two years, the CH Barracuda Beach Resort and CH Aquarius Beach Resort in the beautiful Lagoon Bay of Watamu (Kenya). And lastly, but not less important, the close collaboration with the vector Neos will also continue in 2013…. All the programs are already available for online booking (on the www.condor.it site, DADO the Condor online booking) and/or through a telephone operator. Good sales to all! Management


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Italians: Benvenuto to the Caribbean, Which Doesn’t Like Arrivederci ■ Frank Martin

they noticed that the indigenous people lived in huts built on piles t’s easy to find Italian imprints. and used boats shaped like gondoFor example, military archilas, details that reminded them of tect Bautista Antonelli, born the Venetian watercourses. Thus in Gatteo in 1547, in his time was was born the Small Venice that, ordered by the Spanish Crown to with the years, spread over an isdesign fortresses in Puerto Rico, let of land that surrounds the lake. Santo Domingo, Florida, Havana, And that paradise has been pracCartagena de Indias, Santa Martically adopted by Italian tourists. ta, Nombre de Dios, Portobello, Los Roques, which is the name of Panama and Chagre River. Morethe place, usually receives visiover, he had to travel to Veracruz, tors from Rome, Milan and Venin Mexico, to inspect the San Juan ice, who are always satisfied with de Ulúa Fortress, study the route The most spectacular coral barrier for immersions is located in the Small Venice. their long trip. of a road from Veracruz to Mexico The coral reefs most attractive and reconnoiter the Bay of Fonseca to compare it to that of Portobello. for scuba diving are located in the Small Venice, and the lagoons are In Havana, on a hill facing the bay, stands since 1958 a monumental protected for kite-surfing while the sand islands attract bathers and Christ statue, some 20 meters high on a tree-meter base weighing ap- fishers from around the world. The Italians have settled in the place. proximately some 320 tons. The statue comprises 67 pieces that were They are owners there of accommodations and restaurants which serve precisely brought over from Italy, since it was sculpted in Rome and risotto and fish carpaccio like in the original Venice. Los Roques is home to a national park and an ecological reserve since 1972. The lake’s blessed there by Pope Pius XII. Legendary Italian seafarer Americo Vespucio explained in his works islands are called Madrizqui, Francisqui, Selesqui, Carisqui and Noron the region that the word “Caribbean” comes from the voice “Charai- disqui. A Canadian publication observed that Los Roques offers the bi”, which among the indigenous people meant “wise men”. Everything perfect balance of comfort and rusticity. There are no automobiles, the seems to indicate that, after Vespucio, the Italians never stopped com- streets are of pure sand and everyone goes around barefoot. ing to the Caribbean islands. Italians are greatly awaited every year in other Caribbean tourist A study on the Internet affirmed last year that Italian tourists trav- destinations. Recently, the director of the Tourist Promotion Office of eled most frequently to the Caribbean, especially those living in Rome the Dominican Republic in Italy, Neyda García, said that her country and Milan. “That is a destination increasingly being requested by the recovered the arrival of Italian tourists in 2011. She explained that detourists in Italy, especially the Romans, who plan to travel to a quiet spite the global crisis, last year tourism from Italy was one of recovplace for couples. That is why different places in Italy are being estab- ery for the Dominican tourist industry in terms of the tourists coming lished to promote the tourism of their citizens especially toward the from that European country. In the Dominican case, a total of 99,822 Mexican Caribbean, which is an extremely special place for them,” the Italian tourists surpassed the figure of 94,952 of 2010. The Dominican analysis commented. localities of La Romana and Bayahibe are Italians’ favorite destinations. It added that “since Rome is a city with agreeable weather during the During 2012, García recommended changing the image and concept summer, many couples opt for changing Rome for the Caribbean and especially for the Italian market by introducing ecological and nature having the possibility of discovering the beaches and other sites in such tourism, with promotions in the European country of the region of a marvelous destination, if the Italians want to spend their vacations in Barahona and Pedernales. a different place with many options for all of them and their respective The Caribbean people, who admire the wealth of culture of which couples.” Italy is the cradle, also adopted their culinary art, in addition to attractBut if someone is seeking an Italian island in the New World, he/ ing investments from Italian companies. It is said that in these cases she will be able to find it in Venezuela. It was paradoxically baptized they always prefer to say “benvenuto” than the world famous “arrive“Venice” by the Spanish conquistadors. When they got to the place derci”, which they always say with a bit of nostalgia. ■

I

The fourth edition of the Meliá Cuba Golf Cup will be held October 25-27. The tournament is organized since its first version by the Meliá Las Américas Hotel, the golf specialist in Cuba. Recommended by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), Meliá Las Américas stands out for its programs and special attentions for golfers, as well as for being the only hotel with direct access to

Meliá Cuba 2012 Golf Cup the 18-hole, par 72 Varadero Golf Club. The Meliá Cuba Cup’s registration fee is 150 CUC, which includes a welcome pack, all the green fees before, during and after the tournament; golf carts, snacks during the

two rounds of competition and the awards ceremony supper. Golfers will compete under the stroke play modality in the ladies and gentlemen categories. In case a player doesn’t have a handicap endorsed by his/her federation, the Callaway scoring system will be applied. The two best net and gross scores of each category will be awarded with free stays for two persons for a week in an all-inclusive Meliá Cu-

ba hotel. The straightest, longest and closest to the flag drive skills will receive prizes. The All-Inclusive Golf & Bungalows Meliá Las Américas is a fivestar all-inclusive installation, conceived only for adults starting at 18 years of age, whose facilities include 340 rooms, five restaurants, four bars, gym and varied sports and aquatic activities. It offers special services for golfers.


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TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN • YEAR XII • ISSUE 213 • OCTOBER 2012

Comparing Caribbean Countries

An evaluation by Italian tour operators of the opinions and results in the area in the last three years can help clarify the performance of the travel trend to the Caribbean. Italy’s situation is undoubtedly critical: the high end and low cost trips withstand, but the segment that suffers is the intermediate, the most important in terms of numbers.

■ Gianmaria Patti (ALPITOUR)

“T

he figures of the last three years lead to thinking about a complete recovery of the ‘gloomy’ moments in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, where this year a two figure growth trend was also registered. Especially in high demand were Mexico (+39.3% growth in volumes of pax 2010-2011 and closes the winter of 2012 at +11%, while May and June 2012 registered +5 and +6%, respectively) and the Dominican Republic (+11% in the summer of 2011 and +13% in the winter of 2012; May and June 2012 with +5%). There were good results in Bahamas, introduced in the summer 2010 and in constant growth, while Cuba’s low trend continues and the Greater Caribbean’s results are less satisfactory, which we are planning on the sidelines: Antigua and Jamaica.” According to Angelo Cartelli of Eden Viaggi, “Our destinations in the Caribbean have found throughout the years more and more support. Since 2009 to date, according to our three-year assessment, the number of passengers has increased considerably going beyond the figure of 50,000 passengers in the first semester of 2012. Regarding the preferences, in the first places we definitively find the Dominican Republic and Cuba, destinations where we sell the largest amount of seats. In terms of income from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011, we obtained a two-figure percentage increase, while last year the number of passengers was stable, indicating only a slight increase.” Francesco Paradisi, of Top Cruises, focuses on the novelties and investments in 2012 with a new boost to the destination, as compared to previous years: “We’re speaking of a strong recovery of the Caribbean in our programming starting this year with a substantial investment in terms of new and stronger synergies with interna-

VERATOUR for the Caribbean area is promoting with excellent results the destinations of Mexico and Santo Domingo, where it has the Veraclubs with a high occupancy rate. In the case of Cuba, Veratour is carrying out at present, with the collaboration of the Gran Caribe Hotel Group, a capital repair

tional companies, which allows us to offer a wide range of products for all clients and all needs, supported in this by our ConcierePro. it booking engine. The Caribbean area is always a fascinating destination in our imagi-

nation, perfect for special vacations the year round. This year we have invested more in the Caribbean product with the strengthening of the partnerships and new commercial agreements that expand our range of offers, which are adapted to all needs: families, young people, “solitary navigators” or those seeking rest and fun; Top Cruises is the most immediate answer that concentrates in a single interlocutor a range of solutions for (practically) any request.” Veratour is another operator that has the Caribbean in its offers. Stefano Pompili, CEO of the tour operator, explains: “Veratour’s proposals in the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba and Cayo Largo) are characterized by stays in the Villaggi Veraclubs, also suggested with direct flights or in combination with trips to the United States. A total of 21,756 clients chose our proposals in 2011. In 2010 this figure was 16,164 and 2012 will presumably close with close to 20,000 passengers. The preferences are geared at the Dominican Republic and Mexico, with a gradual increase throughout the years. Our investments and our research, especially in Cuba, have not concluded.” Press Tour, meanwhile, summarizes the essential information about its commitment with the region. “We have facilitated 55,000 passengers’ trips to the Caribbean and to the American continent, with an average of +15% with respect to 2010 and the same increase between 2009 and 2010,” Moreno Rognoni said. “The most popular destinations in terms of passenger flows were Cuba, as the leading destination with some 25,000 passengers, Mexico with 9,000, the Dominican Republic with the same amount, Jamaica with 5,000, Antigua with 1,500, while the others were divided among the Caribbean islands, Central America and South America.” ■

Veratour in the Caribbean Area

of its installations in Cayo Largo del Sur, a destination where the Italian tour operator has been working for around a decade. The reopening of the Veraclub Lindamar, with excellent finishing, is previewed for early December of this year. www.veratour.it



TTC #213 - TTG Incontri (in English)