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# 259 International Tourism Publication founded in 1996 Year XVIII • No. 259 • March 2018 • ISSN 1724-5370


A Good Closing of the Year, Caribbean Forecasts a Better 2018 | Page 6


Cuba, a Circuits Destination Per Se


Interview with Gustavo Him, Panamanian Minister of Tourism


Three from Dominican Republic


Tailor-Made for the German Market


German tourism goes beyond the sun and beach modality; they are avid recipients of our culture, nature, heritage and history, which they combine during their tours of the island.

Germany Breaks New Record in Arrivals to Cuba First and foremost, Counselor, in your view what factors or circumstances favored Germany closing 2017 as Cuba’s fourth issuer? Germany is not only the first European issuer for Cuba, it is also the one that broke a new record in arrivals in 2017, with 243,408 visitors. This country’s positive economic dynamics, which has an incidence in a favorable progress of the market in the European Community, together with the marketing actions, the institutional publicity campaigns, the increase in the diversity of the Cuban tourist product, the recognition of its stability in the evolution and development of tourism, which led it to being the guest country of the FITCuba 2017 fair, held in Holguín, were some of the factors that placed it in this position. Which are the principal marketing and promotion actions previewed by the destination to maintain the increase in arrivals of German visitors? Continuing with the joint promotion campaigns with the market’s principal tour operators, airlines and travel agencies, geared at encouraging the demand; participating in the principal fairs, working in the diversification of the product to establish the specialized tourism niches; maintaining a constant follow-up of the increase in quality of the tourist offer and revitalizing the existing infrastructure will be among the principal goals of this year, as well as drawing up ambitious tourist development programs. The intensification of the use of the most advanced information and communication technologies in marketing, together with the new campaign of the Cuba, you live and love it, will back all these actions that will be carried out.


INTERVIEW WITH ISABEL DOCAMPO TORRES, TOURISM COUNSELOR OF THE CUBAN EMBASSY IN GERMANY In terms of its preferences, travel motivations and most visited tourist destinations, how do you characterize the German market that opts for Cuba? German tourism goes beyond the sun and beach modality; they are avid recipients of our culture, nature, heritage and history, which they combine during their tours of the island. Through these programs they can live the Authentic Cuba and exchange with its hospitable people; they also recognize the island’s safety and the high educational level of its inhabitants. According to what you have explained in the previous question, is there a portfolio of products specifically directed at the German market in the Cuba Destination or some of the island’s tourist destinations? Every day Cuba is presenting environmental investments as a way of emphasizing a sustainable tourism. We have renowned sites declared World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in different regions of the country, as well as numerous national monuments. In the context of the Caribbean, we have several Traveller’s Choice awards of the TripAdvisor travel portal, like the recognition of the Museum of Fine Arts among the 10 best in the region, Paraíso beach in Cayo Largo del Sur and several hotels. The development of the non-state activity in accommodations, gastronomy and other services will continue being a complementary offer

that enhances the programs for this market. In order to guarantee domestic flights to improve the operations of the optional and combined circuits, we have a new aircraft that will fly between the different tourist destinations. Moreover, the infrastructure in the interior of the country is being improved by employing foreign investment in hotels, with the aim of raising their quality, an aspect that responds to one of the demands of the German market, and thus increase the standards of the tours, the principal product that distinguishes us in the Caribbean area. How is the air operation guaranteed to move the tourist flow from Germany to the island? Through the Condor and the Eurowings airlines and the recent incorporation of Azur Air. We operate with all of them to increase the demand for the destination, since with the exit of the Air Berlin airline because of declaring itself insolvent last August we have had a reduction in the capacity of passengers for this year. Which are the principal tour operators that contribute the most to the marketing of Cuba in Germany? We are working with all the market’s tour operators, the wholesale ones, which have capacities reserved in the destination, as well as mid-size and small ones that move a more specialized tourism. What part does the German market play in the cruise operations that include the island as the debarkation point? This is the segment that grew the most last year in Germany, around 14%, and is part of the catalog offered by German tour operators. More than once we have had the Ms Berlin, of the FTI company, in the island’s

Cuba has an extensive delegation in ITB, where all the entities that interact with the tourism sector in Cuba are present: the principal Cuban hotel groups, the associated hotel chains; the country’s principal travel agencies like Havanatur, Cubatur, Viajes Cubanacán, San Cristóbal, Amistur and Ecotur, plus the Cuban Medical Services, the Paradiso Cultural Tourism Agency and Camping, among others, which are presenting a novel portfolio of services that will make it possible to expand and diversify the Cuban tourist product for the German market and attract new segments. To this is added the promotion of the 38th International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2018), to be held May 2-5 in Cayo Santa María, to the north of Villa Clara, which this year is dedicated to the United Kingdom. Would you like to mention any other aspect? Cuba has constituted an extensive plan up to 2030, with priority in real estate development, golf courses, hotels, theme parks and marinas, which will make it possible to continue working in the updating of the tourist product, raising its quality and continuing the communication and marketing actions that encourage our partners and collaborators to bet on the Cuba Destination. © FELIX LIPOV / 123RF

cruise terminals, with excellent results. It is a modality we can expand and take advantage of its boom, given the uncertainty that exists today with the land trips because of the effect of terrorism in some destinations. Could you refer to Germany’s participation in foreign investment in Cuba’s tourism? We are working on incentivizing and expanding it. There is a non-hotel installation in the northern keys, specifically in Cayo Coco, called Torre de Cristal (Rocarena Climbing Park, designed by the German Crystal Tour Company), in addition to the recently inaugurated Cableski in Cayo Guillermo, both with the German Com-Impex Company. This company signed a letter of memorandum during the last edition of FITCuba for a real estate development associated to the marina, in Cienfuegos, among other projects that have already been negotiated with the largest of the Caribbean islands. Other companies that also just started are BERmeeCU GmbH with the project La Habana Globo Park for Havana’s 500th anniversary, as well as the FRS Förde Reederei Seetouristik GmbH & Co. KG, for maritime transportation. Is the Cuban delegation in ITB 2018 presenting some novelties of interest for the German market?

TTC Travel Trade Caribbean srl Via Balbo 1 Chieri 10023, Torino, Italia Tel. +39 0362558665 E-mail Web

Principal Director Giuseppe Ferraris General Director Alfredo Rodríguez Editorial Staff Josefina Pichardo Francisco Forteza Marketing Alejandro Escobar Graphic Design Andro Liuben Pérez Diz Online Marketing Manager Hairo Rodríguez Webmaster Jesus Rodríguez Jr. Web Editor Narmys Cándano Collaboration Dagmara Blanco Ernesto L. Rodríguez Mirta Valdés Lisbett Hernández English Version Mercedes Guillot Print Micrograf S.r.l. Cover Photo © Karel Miragaya / 123RF TTC Travel Trade Caribbean srl Registered at the Milan Court: 166, 13/03/2002 Registered at the Chamber of Commerce: 08 /01/2001 Registered in ROC Italia: 14495



A Good Closing of the Year, Caribbean Forecasts a Better 2018


record of more than 30 million travelers visited the Caribbean in 2017, despite the two devastating hurricanes that hit the region. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) also reported that the visitors spent 37 billion dollars, almost 3% more than the previous year. The CTO declared 2018 Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation in the region; according to its secretary general, Hugh Riley, wellness and rejuvenation are important aspects in the Caribbean’s offer of tourist products. Such a designation will be promoted through the social media and traditional media and will create opportunities for travelers and holiday planners to share their experiences and ideas of how to receive the region’s visitors with wellness and rejuvenation. Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean registered a 4% increase in 2017, as compared to 2016, giving clear signs of recovery after hurricanes Irma and Maria, according to the latest UNWTO Barometer of World Tourism, based on still preliminary data provided by the countries’ tourist authorities and on estimates of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in relation to the


missing figures. A TTC Special refers that in 2017 some lucky islands left behind the tough year with good results in the socalled leisure industry: experts mention Grenada, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Jamaica, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Cuba. The Dominican Republic registered 6,187,542 arrivals of non-residents (+3.8% in the 2017/2016 relation) to its air terminals, according to the Central Bank, for which we thank our colleague Giacomo Dilauro for his usual collaboration. Out of that total 5,354,017 were foreigners (+4.3% with respect to 2016), 56.3% from North America: 2,146,448 from the United States and 837,104 Canadians. Meanwhile, standing out for their percentage of participation, in this order, were the following: Germany, Russia, France, Argentina, United Kingdom, Spain, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In 2018, Cuba expects to reach, for the first time, five million foreign visitors, for a more than 6% increase compared to 2017, which was 4,689,894 arrivals, a 16.2% increase in relation to 2016, way above the Caribbean’s average; while the tourism-related incomes registered a 10.5% growth.

Canada continued being the leading issuer, followed by the United States, Cubans residing abroad, Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Russia and Argentina. Except for Canada, which closed with a slight depression, the rest did so with significant increases compared to 2016, especially the United States with +217.8%. Several traditional markets surpassed their all-time emission records: Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. Provisional data from the Jamaica Tourist Board report that from January to December of 2017, a total of 2,352,915 tourists visited that Caribbean island, +7.8% in relation to 2016. The United States headed the ranking with a contribution of 64.2%, followed by Canada (17.2%), United Kingdom (9.3%), other European nations (4.6%) and Caribbean countries (2.7%). According to statistics, Grenada registered a record of 146,359 tourists in 2017. U.S. travelers increased 16%. Close to 10% of arrivals ranks it among the first among the destinations most highlighted by the CTO. For the Cayman Islands it was a great year in land and cruise passenger segments, with 418,403

overnight stays in 2017, an 8.5% increase. GERMAN MARKET IN PRINCIPAL CARIBBEAN DESTINATIONS According to statistics available at the close of this issue, the performance of the tourist flow from the German market to some of the principal Caribbean destinations displayed positive numbers. The 265,709 arrivals from Germany to the Dominican Republic in 2017 ranked it in first place among the European issuers. These arrivals represented a participation of 5% and a 2.5% growth in relation to 2016. Germany closed 2017 as Cuba’s fourth market, with a record 243,408 visitors, which represents a 0.43% increase compared to the previous year; it contributed 5.1% of all arrivals to that destination and headed the ranking of visitors from the Old Continent. According to the UNWTO’s overview, it is estimated that the performance of arrivals of Germans to Cuba will be around 323,766 by 2020. A total of 29,858 Germans arrived in Jamaica, 43.8% more than in 2016, according to the Jamaica Tourist Board report.


hile the demand for active tourism is on the rise and, as a result, the Tourist Circuits modality is increasing its participation quota in the tourist market, Cuba is being reasserted as a destination of exceptional autochthonous conditions and installed facilities to develop this product. At this moment the circuits are the principal product of the tour operators on the Caribbean island and are in line with the country’s strategy of diversifying its tourism; they are constantly renovated with the introduction in the market of new designs. Numerous and varied circuit offers, traditional or specialized, stable serialized or tailor-made programs at the request of clients, of short or long duration, with or without minimum passengers, are designed by Cuban and international tour operators marketing the destination, based on factors like: the Cuban tourist hubs are a destination in themselves and develop several modalities; an extensive telecommunications network; domestic land transportation facilities through a wide-ranging road infrastructure linking the entire national territory and the groups of keys (through the so-called causeways). Together with this there is a network of boarding points and means of entry by air and sea that covers the entire national territory, on terra firma and the principal

keys, and favors not just direct access from abroad to diverse destinations but also domestic transportation between them during the tours: three cruise terminals (in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba), 10 international marinas and 22 airports, of which 10 are international. Cuba’s geographical characteristics and the easy connection between its principal tourist destinations makes it possible to combine, in one same stay, different modalities and interests, basically around sun and beach tourism, the destination’s principal modality and the center of a great diversity of circuits, mainly focused on nature, cultural and city tourism. Sites of (very well-conserved) historical, cultural, heritage or of economic interest, as well as beach and nature destinations are visited through these options. Cuba has more than 300 beaches, some of them considered among the best in the Caribbean and the world; 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – seven cultural, two nature and three intangible works – and six Biosphere Reserves. These programs are supported by a tourist infrastructure distributed throughout the archipelago, the complementary as well as a plant of 366 hotels and 68,000 rooms (69.4% four and five stars), plus 22,000 rooms in private homes that rent them out. But its greatest attribute is the safety for

visitors and the kindness and happiness of the locals who accompany them throughout their itinerary through the largest of the Caribbean islands. ITINERARIES AND OFFERS The country’s principal travel agencies and tour operators, which operate all the tourist modalities throughout the national territory, are Cubatur, Havanatur, Viajes Cubanacán and Gaviota Tours; in addition to Ecotur, which specializes in nature tourism. Gaviota Tours is attached to the Gaviota Tourism Group and the rest to the Viajes Cuba business group. The destinations most favored by clients for circuits are: Havana, Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara, although Camagüey, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Gibara, among others, are increasingly gaining acceptance, affirmed José Manuel Bisbé, president of Viajes Cuba, in a previous interview given to TTC. According to Cubatur, Havanatur, Viajes Cubanacán and Gaviota Tours sources, a total of 21 established circuits are proposed in their portfolios: 10 combine the city, nature and sun and beach modalities; seven those of city and nature; and four those of city and sun and beach, which endorses their incidence in the diversification of the Cuban tourist product. Those classifiable for their extension

Viñales Valley. Photo: © Karel Miragaya / 123RF.

Cuba, a Circuits Destination Per Se 8ttc

Cienfuegos is one of the heritage cities that stand out nationwide.


horseback riding, days in the country, fishing, trekking, bike tourism, bird watching, scuba diving, jeep safari, hiking…. Forty-eight percent of the proposals are concentrated between Pinar del Río, basically the Vueltabajo zone to get to know how the world’s best tobacco is cultivated, and Havana, including the new provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque; followed by Holguín, with 17%, which includes Pinares de Mayarí, Cayo Saetía and the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. The remaining circuits and programs are offered in other destinations: Matanzas-Varadero-Zapata Pe­ ni­ n­ sula; Santiago de Cuba-Turquino Peak and Granma-La Plata Command Post. Special mention in this modality for nature tourism routes which, while they don’t classify as circuits themselves, do touch several destinations on the island and are theme proposals to connect itineraries after the imprint bequeathed by transcendental personalities and events. Routes are sold, like the Coffee one in northeastern Cuba, Cacao, Tobacco, Columbus, Bird-watching, Rivers, Humboldt and the Great Adventure to Rural Holguín; and others which are being developed will follow the traces of Copper, Honey, Traditional Music and Farms, Quality of Life, Coal and Crocodiles.


include five that tour the entire island, two the eastern region and one the western and central zones. In terms of duration stays, 80% lasts up to a week; four of them are particularly considered minicircuits (three days). The longest of the reported circuits is 11 days. More than 20 Cuban tourist destinations, which cover the island’s 15 provinces, on terra firma as well as the northern group of keys, are tours in these circuits, in almost 150 stays. Probably influenced by its equidistance in the island’s geography, the destinations in the center of the country concentrate 49% of the stays or visits; the west, 36%, and the east, 15%. The regularity of the heritage cities stands out, such as Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Santa Clara, which make up 47% of the

stops, marking a preponderance of cultural and city tourism in the design of these programs, which favor knowledge about the country’s cultural values, as well as contributing to the diversity of its product. Following among the most visited sites, from west to east, are: Viñales, Las Terrazas and Soroa tourist centers (Artemisa province); Zapata Peninsula, including Guamá and Playa Girón; Varadero beach resort, the Villa Clara keys and the cities of Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba, which represent 29%. To a lesser degree, other points on the island are included in the program of circuits, like Cayo Levisa, Cayo Coco and Cayo Saetía; the cities of Remedios, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Bayamo, Holguín and Baracoa; and Santa Lucía and Guardalavaca beaches and the nature destinations of Topes de Collantes and Pinares de Mayarí. Meanwhile, the Ecotur Travel Agency, which promotes ecological, adventure and rural tourism, includes in its portfolio more than 60 offers classified as circuits and programs – among them three minicircuits – specializing in nature tourism, although some alternate with other modalities. The Campers, Harley Davidson Motorcycles and Electric Bicycles circuits stand out, in addition to such diverse modalities like:


German Market Sets Sights on Caribbean

IN RECENT months many news stories have had coverage and they point to a marked interest by airlines and tour operators in Germany on destinations of the Caribbean Basin. From Germany to the Caribbean nonstop is the service that the German Eurowings airline company has promoted, from the city of Düsseldorf to Caribbean destinations: Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic; Varadero, Cuba; and Cancun, in the Mexican Caribbean. The low-cost airline will fly to Punta Cana four times a week; to Varadero every Saturday; to Cancun on Mondays; and to Puerto Plata

on Thursdays. The itinerary was presented through an official press release referred to by Condor has increased its flights to the Caribbean by adding Nassau, capital of Bahamas, from Frankfurt to other Caribbean destinations to which it usually flies. In addition, Lufthansa announced it will operate starting this March direct flights from Frankfurt to San José, Costa Rica, twice a week, round trip. Furthermore, Azur Air, which belongs to the Anex Tour operator, opened a route connecting Punta Cana with Germany; it was added that its recent entrance to Cuba

has contributed to attenuating the effects of Air Berlin’s exit. Meanwhile, the German TUI Group tourist group has increased its offer from the south of Europe to the Caribbean, among other destinations, to minimize possible external factors or crises that could distort its business in mature destinations, according to www.europapress. The German tour operators, affirms, which are expecting a 5% income increase in 2018, especially suppose a high demand for long-distance destinations like the Caribbean after its recovery from the autumn hurricanes.



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An Invitation to Adventure in Panama

Bocas del Toro is one of the most renowned beaches of the Panamanian Caribbean area. Photo: © Vilainecrevette / 123RF.



he Central American country is the center of attention when the region’s tourist destinations are spoken of. With a varied product that includes history, the possibility of getting to know two oceans, its famous canal, an important gastronomy and an extensive commercial offer, it attracts millions of tourists every year, including those seeking to enjoy the Caribbean, because for them the proposal is also excellent. This is how the destination is described by its current minister of tourism, Gustavo Him, who gave an exclusive interview to TTC during FITUR 2018, recently held in Madrid. “In 2017 Panama launched its new campaign, which seeks to offer visitors a tourism of experience, adventure, in order to get the maximum benefit from our nature and everything the country offers,” he commented. He added that with the availability of more than 20,000 rooms in the city, visitors can find a variety of opportunities from traveling in time through the Old Core, totally restored, or getting to know the modern city with skyscrapers, large companies and more than 13 commercial establishments, in addition to the Colón free zone, very visited by those wanting to make purchases. He advanced that in that locality there are plans to build a duty free zone to add facilities to the modality.

In that sense, Gustavo Him underlined that Panama has become a commercial hub for countries like Cuba, Central and South America, with accessible prices to the principal brand names from all over the world. In relation to the Panamanian Caribbean, the minister highlighted that it has spectacular beaches and he gave the example of Bocas del Toro, the most renowned of the area where there is a good gastronomy, services and hotels, while guests can practice water sports like scuba diving, surfing, among others. “San Blas is another of the paradises we have for nature buffs,” he said when referring to that archipelago made up of more than 350 islets that has also made the Panamanian Caribbean famous. Gustavo Him referred to the Pullmantur cruise line, number one in Latin America, whose center of operations is based in Pa­ nama and offers routes that call at destinations like Cartagena, Jamaica, Nassau, Aruba, with one-week tours and highly competitive prices. Thus touring the Caribbean destinations can be a totally accessible dream from Panama. The principal markets issuing tourists to Panama include the United States, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Canada, Germany, Spain and Italy. The minister specified that this year special emphasis is being placed on the Euro-

pean markets to attract more travelers, who are motivated to live a unique experience, full of adventure, options like sport fishing, golf, extreme sports and much more. The presence in the FITUR 2018 Madrid International Fair was proof of this. During the event business meetings were held with executives of important companies related to the sector like the Spanish Air Europa airline and the Portuguese TAP – the latter is assessing a return to the destination – in order to increase the air connectivity with the Old Continent. In 2017 Panama received 2.3 million tourists and for this year, Him said, it expects to reach the three million. The country and its tourist industry are getting ready to host the World Youth Day (WYD) in January 2019. It is expected that the religious event will take to the Central American nation 200,000 visitors, headed by Pope Francis, who Him has assured the international media “is the best promotion.” Another novelty that will soon call attention to Panama will be the inauguration of the Amador Convention Center, covering a surface of more than 58,000 meters, previewed for August 2018. Thus Panama is boosting its tourism with all its force and is inviting visitors to live it intensely, that each one of them takes home the matchless experience of an adventure.

Tour Operator and Travel Agency Business Expands in Panama THE TOURIST Investments Department of the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) last year issued 42 working licenses for travel agencies and tour operators - reported. In 2017 the accommodation services (hostels, hotels, camping and small hotels) also increased with the opening of 58 in the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Herrera, Chiriquí, Veraguas, Panamá and Panamá Oeste. The ATP director of tourist investments, Gina Valderrama, af-


firmed that the registry of new tour operators and travel agencies “shows the trust Panamanian and foreign businesspeople have in the country.” “Panama’s strength is its connectivity, kilometers of beaches, climate, nature and geographical position, which place it at a good competitive level,” said the official while sustaining that the new investments in the Panamanian tourist sector “have quality.” Tourism represents close to 10% of the country’s GDP.

DAIQUIRÍ TOURS BETS ON CUBA Travel operator that has received tourists in Cuba for more than 15 years and has structured the road to success with its unique efficiency and friendly style. It has contributed to the creation and development of the Cuban tourist product and has the necessary knowhow to see to each one of the clients’ demands. We have a team of professionals who will help you design your preferred itinerary, will provide a fast reply and will facilitate a unique experience in the country. You can contact us through our sales agents to get discounts of up to 10% on the public prices for our hotel products, transportation, car rentals and airfares. Our multidestination includes Italy-Madrid-Prague, Berlin-Madrid-Paris and Peru. We will soon include Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia. 2

A New Way of Discovering Cuba in the Open

WHAT IS “CUBA ON THE ROAD?” Tours and Excursions to explore and discover Cuba “on wheels,” through programs designed to capture the essence of the island. We guarantee unique and unforgettable vacations, with a professional and personalized service. Tours with specialized guides through emblematic places of Old Havana and the modern part of the city. What means do we place at your disposal to enjoy the Tours and Excursions? % Campers % Motorcycles % Bikes DAIQUIRI TOURS S.A. CUBA Miramar Trade Center, Barcelona Building 5th Ave. e/ 76 y 78, Havana, Cuba % Tel.: +53 7 207 6604 %

ELITE CLUB VACANZE HOTEL GROUP Highly innovative structure, with accommodation services in Florence, Prague, Rome, Venice and Berlin, places close to the center and nightlife of these cities. The St. John Hotel, in Vedado, was incorporated to our Group in January 2018. 2 DAIQUIRI TOURS S.A. ITALIA Palazzo Borghese, Via Ghibellina, 110-50122, Firenze, (FI) Italy E-mail: % Cell: +39 333 464 04 68 %



reated on January 20, 1988, the Gaviota Tourism Group offers a universe of diversity and comfort in 84 hotels and villas with more than 29,000 rooms – a third of the country’s accommodation capacity – in urban destinations, paradisiacal keys or beaches on terra firma and seducing natural environments. A leading tourism company in Cuba, with the most active investment and expansion projection in high-standard hotel products, it supports the operation with the transportation services of Transgaviota, the nautical offer of Marinas Gaviota and a portfolio of tours and excursions of the Gaviota Tours travel agency. Its major destinations are Pinar del Río, Havana, Varadero, Villa Clara keys, Topes de Collantes, Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo), Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa. The Group works with renowned international chains: Meliá, Iberostar, H 10, Blue Diamond, Valentín, Banyan Tree, Pestana, Kempinski and Marriot, which manage a bit over 86% of its capacities; and new partners like Louvre, Posadas Group, Orascom Development and Sercotel. In 2018 openings are expected in Havana; Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa María, Cayo

CARIBBEAN AIRLINES CONNECTS CUBA WITH THE CARIBBEAN Trinidad and Tobago’s air carrier, Caribbean Airlines, inaugurated the Port of Spain-Havana route, which will favor the connection between Cuba and


HOTELS UNDER ITS MANAGEMENT, INSTITUTIONAL PRIDE In addition, the 4,033 rooms managed by the Group in Playa Cayo Santa María, Playa Coco, Playa Pesquero and Playa Costa Verde hotels are of special importance for Gaviota. Moreover, it has the María La Gorda International Scuba Diving Center and Villa Cabo de San Antonio in Guanahacabibes Peninsula; the Kohly and El Bosque hotels in Havana; and the accommodations in Topes de Collantes and eastern Cuba; Villa Pinares de Mayarí, Villa Gaviota Santiago plus Baracoa. Especially for its hotels with its own brand, the Group has opened an Internet portal with price windows and the best possibilities for direct clients and travel agents, who can make reservations online or through the call center service and also receive bulletins and share opinions with other users.

New Air Connections in the Caribbean

© 06PHOTO / 123RF

AEROMÉXICO INCREASES FREQUENCIES TO MADRID AND PARIS Aeroméxico announced the increase in frequencies and capacity on its routes to Europe, operated with Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliner planes. The Madrid-Mexico City route is being expanded from 9 to 13 weekly direct flights between both destinations during the months of the highest demand of this 2018. For Paris, Aeroméxico will add three new seasonal frequencies and will offer up to 10 flights per week.

Guillermo and Cayo Cruz; and Holguín, which would add 4,591 new rooms. When in 2021 Gaviota has 50,000 rooms in exploitation, it is expected that 90% of the Group’s total hotel plant will be under management contract.

the Caribbean nations, with a Boeing 737-800. LATAM INAUGURATES BRASILIA-PUNTA CANA ROUTE A new Latam Airlines flight was inaugurated between the cities of Brasilia, in Brazil, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with a twice a week frequency on Saturdays and Sundays.

CORSAIR INCREASES FLIGHTS TO CUBA A new Corsair International flight is joining Paris, France to the Cuban city of Santa Clara, Cuba. Operated with a fleet of Airbus 330s, the new route will have a weekly frequency, with a brief stopover in Havana before reaching Santa Clara, from where it returns to the French capital.

NEW UNITED KINGDOM FLIGHT TO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC The start of an additional flight by the Thomas Cook airline from Manchester to Punta Cana is previewed for the next summer season, from May to October 2018. In addition, British Airways and the TUI UK tour operator will increase the seating capacity. NEW FLIGHT TO FRENCH-SPEAKING CARIBBEAN The low-cost Level airline, belonging to the International Airlines Group, will expand its offer to the French-speaking Caribbean destination. The company plans to operate flights from Paris Orly to Guadeloupe and Martinique starting July 2018.







From Varadero, Gran Caribe Hotel Group’s Invitation to Combine Sensations

On the Thresholds of FITCuba 2018 THE CUBAN International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2018) will be held May 2-5 in the destination of the Villa Clara keys, to the north of the central province of Villa Clara. It will be dedicated to the sun and beach modality, the destination’s most representative, and will have the United Kingdom as the guest of honor country. The Villa Clara keys will be presented: Santa María, Ensenachos and Las Brujas, incredible islets with excellent beaches, a spectacular natural environment and frontline infrastructure, harmonically inserted in nature. The participants will be able to appreciate the beauty of these keys and visit other cities being developed: Caibarién, Remedios, Sagua la Grande and Santa Clara. During the inaugural session in Cayo Santa María on May 2, after the welcome address by the president of the government of Villa Clara, the head of the UK delegation will speak and a master lecture will be given by Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz. That day the Suppliers Expo will open its doors and the days of negotiation will begin, which will last until May 5. The program comprises a familiarization tour of the Villa Clara keys. The May 4 morning session starts with a conference by the World Tourism Organization, followed by the successive presentations of the Villa Clara Destination, by the Gaviota S.A. Group and Viajes Cuba. The official closing of the event and the convocation for FITCuba 2019 will take place in the evening. May 5 was set aside to launch the Sagua la Grande tourist destination and to visit Cayo Esquivel. The Public at Large Fair, in the city of Santa Clara, seals Cuban tourism’s major event.


Villa Tortuga.

Club Kawama.

Puntarena-Caleta Complex****


ran Caribe is offering four all-inclusive hotels for combined programs in Cuba’s main sun and beach destination. The exclusiveness and hospitality that characterizes the Hotel Group are considerable in the three-star Club Kawama, Villa Tortuga and Sunbeach with an intense day and night animation, strategic locations in excellent beach areas and close to Varadero’s principal attractions. The proposal is enriched by the PuntarenaCaleta Complex****, located at the entrance to the beach resort, with an exclusive beach, ideal for groups and families. With more than 20 years of experience, the Gran Caribe Hotel Group is one of the leaders in the Cuba destination. It has a total of 54 hotels in the Caribbean country’s principal tourist destinations, at beaches, keys, cities, also available to organize combined programs or previously designed circuits for sale.

© 123RF

Three from Dominican Republic

TOURIST SECTOR’S IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVE LINES GENERATES 24% OF GDP Dominican tourism has consolidated as the country’s real economic driving force. Studies indicate that the sector has a direct and indirect impact on productive activities that generate 24% of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the president of Asonahores, Joel Santos, in the framework of the recently held FITUR 2018 – published on Santos indicated that the tourist activity generated for the Dominican Republic seven billion dollars last year, a period during which the country received 6.1 million tourists. According to the president

of Asonahores, if tourism is the country’s principal economic activity and being a global industry “it is our real export industry, the spearhead of the Dominican economy.” PLANS TO BUILD 29,000 HOTEL ROOMS Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier García affirmed that he has received proposals for the construction of 29,000 hotel rooms, of which 9,000 will be built in Pedernales. The official considered that the country is at a spectacular moment in the tourist field, according to what the newspaper Hoy published. “Those investors feel trust in investing in the Dominican Republic and

are also happy about the investments in infrastructure made in recent years,” he said. He added that Pedernales is managed by a commission headed by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo; and that a Spanish businessman is interested in investing in this destination and is waiting to be called by the government to initiate the construction of 9,000 hotel rooms. ASONAHORES ANNOUNCES DATE 2018 IN MIDST OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS At a time of good forecasts for the Dominican tourist industry, Asonahores announced the holding of the 19th Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange

(DATE) fair, from April 11 to 13, in the Barceló Bávaro Beach Convention Center in Punta Cana. The event, which promotes the Dominican tourist offer, has the support of the Ministry of Tourism and is designed as a space for business exchange. Joel Santos, president of Asonahores, affirmed that providers of the local tourist product will be holding exchanges with tour operators, travel agents, airline representatives, hoteliers and other professionals from the sector through preestablished dates and, in addition, defining joint business strategies. He said that DATE has become the most important meeting for those betting on the country’s tourist potential.

TTC Newspaper FOCUSED on promoting the Caribbean’s tourist product, it has a print run of 5,000 copies and more than 100,000 digital impacts from our TTC News bulletin service and the sites, and The editorial plan consists of eight regular editions for the most important professional tourism fairs in the global sphere, in addition to supplements for events and specific segments. It circulates in Spanish, Italian, English and French in the principal tourism issuing markets to the Caribbean: Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Germany. It is directly distributed free of charge in events and fairs for which they are published; in addition, it is sent in electronic format to our mailing list of 10,000 addressees and appears in the websites of TTC. FAIRS IN WHICH TTC IS PRESENT FITUR, Madrid, Spain, January

Top Resa, Paris, France, September

BIT, Milan, Italy, February

TTG Incontri, Rimini, Italy, October

ITB, Berlin, Germany, March

FIHAV, Havana, Cuba, October

FITCuba, Cuba, May

WTM, London, United Kingdom, November

ALLOW us the privilege of making known your company, your products or services and contribute to your promotion in a fast, effective way with a wide-ranging distribution.

For more information or to contract our service you can write to us through:

The Authentic Musicality of María Alejandra y cubanía


he desire to dance, listen and la-la-la the classics or new melodies flow when the talent and insistence on making good music come together. This authentic group of young Cubans is proof of this on each stage where they are able to win over the admiration and affection of the most diverse publics. Piano, base, kettledrum, conga drum, sax, flute, trumpet and a singer make up


this multifaceted team of professionals led by María Alejandra, a piano graduate from the Manuel Saumell School and an Amadeo Roldán Conservatory graduate in theorizing, a passionate director who, as she affirmed to TTC, has put all she has learned in the academy into the project to create her own style and cover the wide-ranging diversity of Cuban music: salsa, timba, jazz, ballad and other international genres like blues or the bossa nova.

“We are committed to variety and we demand versatility from each musician. The public’s response in each performance and the different scenarios are a guide for us to make up the repertoire. There’s also the fact that the show is enhanced because we all come from the academy,” she affirms. The dream that started off being a trio format, then a quintet and now has seven members, has demonstrated that it is a formula for success. The public’s response is proof of this and backs the growing popularity of the group that, with barely three years of work, already holds a privileged place in Cuba’s musical panorama. As a result, they started recording their first record with the Abdala Studio under the Unicornio label in which they will include several pieces by Kiko Ruiz, the group’s singer, and by composer Pedro Cuba. In this new work stage they aim “to add and promote rhythms like the mozambique, pilón and cha-cha, which have had great acceptance among dancers,” its director says. With María Alejandra y cubanía each performance is a fiesta. This is why each day new scenarios from throughout the country are opening their doors to them. They have a regular space in the Memories Miramar Habana Hotel on Fridays; Sundays in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana’s El Tablao; and, in addition, they perform in popular fiestas and cultural events throughout the national geography. Moreover, the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) entrusted them with the musical theme that will identify the Cuban delegation in the Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in Barranquilla, Colombia. The chemistry with the public is fundamental, and if it’s a question of charisma, Kiko Ruiz, the singer, is the soul of the group. With a special mischievousness and the support of each musician he is capable of connecting with everybody, no matter the age or gender, who willingly accept his invitation to sing or dance. “Each performance is different, we do what we like,” he confesses, and he describes the work in the group as “a possibility that has allowed me to grow, has enhanced my repertoire and has made me feel fulfilled for having achieved that they put their trust in me as a composer.” The rest of the group’s musicians have the same opinion. They add their experience to the director’s discipline and demands, which together make up the authentic musicality that distinguishes this group that irradiates cubanness.

Bikes for your Revolution T

he name of our Agency: Cubyke, is derived from the passion for Cuba and cycling in the most beautiful places in the world. We arrived in Havana a year ago, with the Cubyke E-Bikes, which are specially made to travel around Cuba in the style of the 50s. Our Agency offers a wide range of tours so you can get to know Havana from wheels, that Havana is not frequently visited by tourists. First you must select the route package and then you will start to live the roads with the Cubykes E-Bikes. These roads can cross from the Morro Cabaña Park, the heart of the Santería in Cuba, places where once slaves were trafficked, the Eastern Beaches and the municipalities of Guanabacoa, Minas and Regla. There are also roads that go west of Havana. They go through spaces from socio-cultural projects such as Jaimanitas and the Romerillo Project, Marina Hemingway Nautical Club and Baracoa. But always, in each of the tours we include the stay in restaurants, in some cases they can be the best seafood and fish restaurants in the city. The packages include items useful for the tour, because whenever you use our e-bikes we will provide you with a helmet, water, saddlebag to carry belongings, a cart for children and pets if you need it. You will also have the smile of our guides who will make you spend an elegant time with our bikes in Havana. CONTACTS  @CubykeTravel @cubyke    Office: +5372144383


NH Enhances its Portfolio in Havana


tarting January 1, 2018, the NH Hotel Group added to its catalogue of hotels managed by it the NH Collection Victoria La Habana, located in the heart of El Vedado, the most centric zone of the Cuban capital, very close to the NH Capri which since 2014 is also being managed by the Group. A few minutes away from Old Havana and its system of fortifications, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and from José Martí International Airport, both hotels are located in the ideal neighborhood for travelers interested in enjoying the Malecón seaside drive’s marine landscape, alterna-

tive culture or jazz; interacting with the locals, practicing tourism, touring and letting themselves be seduced by Havana nights. The small, elegant and cozy NH Collection Victoria La Habana – property of the Cuban Gran Caribe Hotel Group – is especially recommended for businesspeople, tourists and honeymooners. The sea can be viewed from its incredible sophisticated spaces. It has an open-air swimming pool available throughout the year, a closed-in swimming pool and bar, and offers excellent international cuisine. The 31 rooms are equipped with cable TV and private bathroom, and have a living

room zone or have a terrace or balcony. Founded on July 14, 1928 as a mansion, the Victoria Hotel was described by prominent Cuban writer Cintio Vitier as “the hotel of 20th century poets.” It has hosted illustrious figures like the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature Juan Ramón Jiménez and Gabriela Mistral; Russian musician Sergey Prokofiev or Hollywood stars Marlon Brando and Errol Flynn, insolubly linked to its history. The inclusion of the NH Collection Victoria La Habana in the NH Hotel Group’s portfolio responds to the Spanish company’s expansion plans in the Cuba destination.


Havanatur on Way to Its 40 Years

Tailor-Made for the

German Market:


Touristik T ropicana Touristik, the Cuba specialist for the German market, includes in its catalogue a wide range of products deriving in a great variety of travel options to vacation in that Caribbean island, be it as part of beach stays as well as circuits and specialized programs to discover the Authentic Cuba. Several circuits throughout the island, with set departure dates and a minimum of participants, are offered by Tropicana Touristik, as well as the possibility of completing your visit with an extended stay based on tempting proposals in its best beaches and keys. The offers with the highest demand in the market include Tropicana, a six-day (five-night) program to get to know Havana, Viñales, Guamá, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and spending the last days in the famous Varadero beach resort. The Cuba de oeste a este (Cuba from west to east) proposal is spectacular and


complete. It consists of a trip that starts in Havana and continues along Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camagüey, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa, the first township founded by the Spaniards in Cuba and which has more than 500 years of history; the return to Havana is on a domestic flight. Specializing in the Cuba destination, Tropicana Touristik also places in the hands of the German tourists a wide-ranging proposal through Oriente cubano (Eastern Cuba), an itinerary that sums up the best of the island’s easternmost region’s history, architecture and culture, together with the enjoyment of a capriciously exuberant nature and excellent beaches whose waters feature the vastest hues of blues, turquoise and emerald green. Modalities like car tours also provide travelers with the opportunity to get to know on their own all of Cuba’s attractions. It makes reservations for its clients of several categories of cars with rental stations in airports and several of the country’s cities.

THE HAVANATUR S.A. International Group of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies this 2018 is arriving at its 40 years of work with the satisfaction of having been able to expand the view of Cuba as a global tourist destination and with this contribute to attracting and issuing tourists to the country, said Evelyn Guilarte, its general director. The executive indicated that “During all these years we have consolidated our leading position in the Cuban market through a network of our own tour operators [it has offices in 12 countries] and those that represent us, providing a receptive service with personalized assistance, with the aim of guaranteeing high satisfaction among clients and sustained growths in the participation share in the issuing of tourists to the Cuba destination.” In 39 years the Group has achieved a participation share of more than 20% of the tourist arrivals to the island. In 2017 it registered an exponential growth of visitors in the cruise modality coming from the United States, with the incorporation of companies like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Pearl Seas and Viking, in addition to Carnival, the first to join Havanatur since May 2016. This service assisted close to 150,000 passengers until the close of November. Evelyn Guilarte cited among the principal objectives to continue developing the clients and collaborators portfolio in countries like Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and others in the Caribbean. Another priority is strengthening the multidestination among the area countries by 20%, based on the complementariness of their diversities, as the principal tool to jointly explore the opportunities represented by the natural and cultural wealth each country treasures. For 2018 the Group aims to achieve the reception of 750,000 visitors; to consolidate the leading position in the movement of tourists from the U.S. market and the sale of plane tickets to the United States; and to materialize the technological leap toward e-commerce and the consolidation of the management system implemented in the enterprise.

Together in Favor of Nature

in Playa Blanca Camping Villa


he Playa Blanca Camping Villa, with a category plus with accommodations, specialized se­r ­vices and a good value for money, is located in a place with a unique history since it is the principal scenario of the island of Cuba’s discovery by Christopher Columbus on October 28, 1492, along the coasts of Cayo Bariay, to the north of the province of Holguín, where today there is a tourist complex related to the Taino culture. Characterized for its 105-meter-long and 50-meter-wide as­to­nishing white thick sand dunes – medium to thick granule – from which its name of Playa Blanca comes from, in turn it exhibits crystalline waters free of contamination and a sandy seabed with fast descents, which give it a certain depth. Caressed by Bariay’s coconut palms, it is very popular among the locals who prefer it to go on tours and camping. The Playa Blanca Camping Villa is surrounded by vegetation full of sea grapes; it faces

Cayo Bariay, and on the opposite side the Bay of Gibara. A plaque alluding to the historical importance of the place, put on the right side of the entrance to the Playa Blanca Complex, is located 400 meters from Punta Peregrina, the east entrance to this bay. SERVICES The bathing area is spacious and is conditioned for the en-

joyment of vacationers; it also has a swimming pool in the center of the installation. For the palate’s delight guests can opt for two restaurants, one specializing in seafood and another in international cuisine, plus a snack bar and cafeteria. A rustic children’s park has been prepared for small fry camping buffs so they can have fun with the necessary safety conditions.

Tours are organized to the Taino Hamlet in Cayo Bariay, which combines the guests’ recreation with the enrichment of the culture of and knowledge about Cuba’s indigenous people. And for nighttime entertainment there’s a dance floor with shows featuring national, international and children’s music, according to each public’s tastes.

CONTACTS  Moa, Holguín  (53 24) 43 0021    


Travel Trade Caribbean editon ITB 2018 No 259  

International publication for the promotion of the Caribbean, founded in 1996 and based in Italy; offices in Panama and in Havana, Cuba. Mad...

Travel Trade Caribbean editon ITB 2018 No 259  

International publication for the promotion of the Caribbean, founded in 1996 and based in Italy; offices in Panama and in Havana, Cuba. Mad...