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# 276 International Tourism Publication founded in 1996 Year XX • No. 276 • November 2020 • ISSN 1724-5370 www.traveltradecaribbean.com

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO): Key Factor in Rebuilding the Regional Tourism Sector EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION’S ACTING SECRETARY GENERAL, NEIL WALTERS

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Cuba and the United Kingdom Resume Tourism Operations

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COCAL: Education and Professionalization of Events Industry

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Varadero Open to International Tourism

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Acosta Danza: New Art from Cuba


COVER-STORY

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO): Key Factor in Rebuilding the Regional Tourism Sector

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s the leading entity in the regional tourism industry, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is navigating the path towards rebuilding the sector in the face of the unfavorable scenario created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an exclusive interview with TTC, its Acting Secretary General, Neil Walters, comments on the initiatives developed by the organization, the projections of the sector and other topics of interest that ratify the objective of positioning the Caribbean as the most desirable warm-climate destination during all year round, and make it a leader in sustainable tourism under the premise of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. Given the difficult situation facing the world tourism industry, what strategies has the organization designed to contribute to the recovery of tourism in the region? From the onset of the crisis the CTO has been working closely with our member countries to help with planning and preparation to navigate the path towards rebuilding the regional tourism sector. We have partnered with international agencies such as the UNWTO, The Travel Foundation, The University of the West Indies, Euromonitor International, the WTTC, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and others to bring expertise that help our member

Neil Walters.

countries with their preparation and capacity building. In addition, we have led a Caribbean Dreaming social media campaign and provided support to our members with their own promotion and marketing. What are the projections for the Caribbean tourism industry for the end of 2020 and 2021? With CTO member countries reopening slowly for limited commercial traffic, we predict that tourist arrivals to the region will decrease between 50 per cent and 70 per cent this year. Cruise visits are expected to decline

between 55 per cent and 60 per cent, conditioned on cruise restarting in November. However, a rebound in the industry is anticipated next year as consumer confidence rebuilds. The strength of this projected rebound has not yet been determined. Regarding the British market in the Caribbean, what are the preferred destinations for these visitors? How does this market usually behave? The UK is the second largest source of tourists from Europe to the Caribbean. Between 2015 and 2019, tourist arrivals from the UK averaged 1.3 million per annum. By volume, the top 10 destinations (based on 2019 data) in descending are: Barbados, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cancun (Mexico) (CTO estimate), Cuba, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada. By dependence on the market, the top 5 destinations are: Barbados, Montserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. 2020 has been declared Year of Rural Tourism and in its message for World Tourism Day, the CTO reaffirmed the importance of promoting this modality. What actions is this body carrying out to promote the development of rural tourism in the Caribbean? Traditionally, much of Caribbean tourism has centred mainly along coastal areas and

Snorkelling at Green Island, Antigua and Barbuda. Photo: Š Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Office.

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COVER-STORY

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO): Key Factor in Rebuilding the Regional Tourism Sector

TTC Travel Trade Caribbean srl Via Balbo 1 Chieri 10023, Torino, Italia Tel. +39 0362558665 E-mail italia@traveltradecaribbean.com Web www.traveltradecaribbean.com General Director Alfredo Rodríguez director@traveltradecaribbean.com Supervisor Miriam del C. Fillad Guevara miriam@traveltradecaribbean.com Editor in chief Narmys Cándano narmys@traveltradecaribbean.com Editor Josefina Pichardo redaccion@traveltradecaribbean.com Editor for the Newsletter Frank Martin fortezamartin@hotmail.com Director of Technology Hairo Rodríguez hairorh@gmail.com

Steel band at Jolly Beach, Antigua and Barbuda. Photo: © Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Office.

capital cities. The CTO has recognised the need for diversification of the tourism landscape to ensure that rural and marginalised communities acquire more tangible and direct benefits from tourism, and community-based tourism (CBT) is seen as a viable alternative to bridge the social and economic gap of local communities. CTO has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy, which is further justified by the current shift in tourism demand drivers enabling the evolution of experiential niche tourism products including nature-based adventure tourism, indigenous tourism and health & wellness including traditional therapies. Towards this end, CTO has partnered with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, a regional institution strategically aligned with the addressing development challenges of productivity and innovation through private sector development. Over the past three years, efforts have focused on the development of tools and capacity-building to foster the development of CBT in CTO member countries, focussing on rural and indigenous communities. The successes include primary research of US based consumers to assess the demand for innovative tourism experiences and services that can be offered through CBT in the Caribbean and the production of a suite of tools to guide tourism medium, small and micro economies on how to responsibly engage visitors as a strategy for sustainably

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monetising community assets. The CTO has also organised several workshops and training sessions to sensitise regional tourism stakeholders on the outcomes of the market research study and also to train on the use of the toolkit resources, while a number of other programmes are either ongoing or in the pipeline. Any other topic you want to address? In the area of tourism product diversification, the CTO has also launched the Caribbean Heritage Trails: Routes of Roots programme which aims to increase the capacity of the CTO’s members to responsibly develop routes and trails that utilise the countries’ intrinsic cultural and natural heritage resources to provide cohesive heritage experiences. In so doing, this programme encourages the meaningful involvement of the heritage owners–including those in rural communities–in the tourism sector, and indicates how this can be achieved in a sustainable manner. We must continually show gratitude to the people in rural areas for their tremendous role in the preservation and perpetuation of the customs, traditions and other cultural expressions which personify the uniqueness of the Caribbean, and which amplify the region’s appeal as a destination. This programme serves as a platform to highlight the importance of this contribution and encourage their telling of their own stories in the tourism space.

Marketing Coordinator Claudia Retureta Acosta claudia@traveltradecaribbean.com Graphic Design Andro Liuben Pérez Diz androliuben@traveltradecaribbean.com Administration Alejandro Escobar alexis@traveltradecaribbean.com Social Networks Agnayr Córdova Chile agnayrcordova96@gmail.com Collaboration Lisbett Hernández lisbett@traveltradecaribbean.com Mirta Valdés mirta@traveltradecaribbean.com Grethel Rojas grethell@traveltradecaribbean.com Liset Rodríguez liset@traveltradecaribbean.com Julio César Ginarte julio@traveltradecaribbean.com Ernesto L. Rodríguez ernesto@traveltradecaribbean.com English Version Mercedes Guillot Cover Photo © Julio A. Alvite Piedra / Grupo de Turismo Gaviota S.A Registered at the Milan Court: 166, 13/03/2002 Registered at the Chamber of Commerce: 08 /01/2001 Registered in ROC Italia: 14495


Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Dr. Antony Stokes LVO, signs the contracts for three cooperation projects with the Cuban science institution CIGB.

Alliances Between the United

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he British Embassy in Havana develops bilateral programs in priority areas such as collaboration projects in response to COVID-19, culture and creative industries, and education, among others. The Program of Projects in Cuba during the 2020-2021 biennium contemplates a series of small-scale actions executed with funds from the International Program of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) that will help increase health resilience, promote research on vaccines and drugs, and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic in that Caribbean country. The British diplomatic mission supports the Cuban Neuroscience Center (CNEURO) in its effort to optimize diagnoses and treatments to minimize brain damage caused by COVID-19. Through this initiative, which is carried out in conjunction with the University of Oxford, the Cuban institution will have access to UK-Biobank data related to the aforementioned disease; brain disorders associated with the disease in recovered individuals will be able to be characterized and a DNA biobank developed with patient samples. In addition, CNEURO will implement a protocol to assimilate and use non-invasive

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ventilators (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP), to improve the treatment of respiratory deficits related to COVID-19. Cuban engineers will be trained to manufacture the UCL-CPAP equipment and assemble prototypes in Cuba, as well as intensive care specialists, to use them in therapy. Developed by the University College London Hospital in conjunction with Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, the UCL-CPAP enables shorter therapy with better results for the patient and for healthcare resources. The UCL-Ventura consortium released the full design and manufacturing instructions completely free of charge; the designs have been downloaded by around 1,800 governments, industries, health experts and academics in 105 countries. “Both projects are innovative research within the portfolio of projects aimed at fighting the pandemic in Cuba, and an important resource to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of current and future diseases,” acknowledged Dr. Mitchel Valdés-Sosa, director of CNEURO. Similarly, the Embassy is also collaborating with the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in phase 1 of a clinical trial of the CIGB2020 vaccine to optimize immunization, testing various administration

routes in increasing the expression of the receptor gene to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA. With the CIGB itself, the UK contributes to the exploration of the antiviral activity of CIGB-300 in SARS-CoV-2 positive patients through a clinical trial; as well as in the development of a diagnostic test for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 serological antigen, with the objective of carrying out capture tests of this antigen for the early diagnosis of the disease; a project that includes the generation of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein, the obtaining of an Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 antigen in humans, and the assembly of a lateral flow test for the detection of antigen in humans at healthcare points. Regarding these projects, Dr. Eulogio Pimentel, general director of the CIGB, stated that “in the face of the pandemic in Cuba, the possibility of developing specific and effective drugs against this disease has been essential. In this sense, we appreciate the contribution of the United Kingdom to be able to acquire multiple reagents and materials necessary to ensure the progress of the three mentioned actions.”


Cuban students that have been chosen for the Chevening Program.

Festivities during the British Culture Week.

Workshop of Creative Industries.

Kingdom and Cuba As to the mitigation of the economic impact of COVID-19 in Cuba, the Embassy supports research carried out by the Center for Studies of the Cuban Economy of the University of Havana, geared at transforming the commercialization of fresh food. This intention includes, in turn, the holding of workshops on food production and food safety, markets and value chains, as well as conducting research on related topics. The diplomatic representation of the United Kingdom in Cuba also accompanies the private sector, with the aim of fostering a space for exchange and collective reflection in the search for post-COVID-19 entrepreneurial initiatives and definition of the strategies that said sector could implement to adapt to the new normal. Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Dr. Antony Stokes LVO [Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order], has defined the precept that “cooperation between countries is essential in responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19. In addition to putting the world’s health systems to the test, the pandemic has impacted our economies. These projects promote bilateral collaboration in these two key areas.” On a universal scale, he continued, “the UK government is committed to promoting

global collaboration in the development of and access to vaccines, tests and treatments. Consequently, the Embassy has dedicated part of the funds available this year to support various research and clinical trials carried out by the CIGB… “Several British institutions, such as University College London and the University of Oxford, have developed research, prototypes, etc., which place them at the global forefront in responding to COVID-19. Projects with CNEURO, for example, seek to share this knowledge and promote exchange for its application in Cuba, as the United Kingdom has done in other countries.” In this context, it is convenient to remember that, since 2016, the FCDO has provided financial support for events, research, workshops, visits and other actions that enhance the execution of projects and exchange between the United Kingdom and Cuba. The Embassy works with the Cuban government, academia, international organizations and civil society to contribute to the country’s progress in areas such as: economic reform, threats to global health, biotechnology and life sciences, public governance, financial and professional services, higher education and English language teaching, renewable energies, creative industries, media...

The actions in the educational field especially include the global scholarship program of the British government, Chevening, funded by the FCDO and other organizations, which supports master’s studies in the United Kingdom of individuals with demonstrable potential to become future leaders, decision-makers and opinion formers. Eleven Cubans started this year at UK universities, and the selection for the edition of the 2021-2022 school year is already in process. The relationship with its scholarship recipients continues after the conclusion of their studies in the United Kingdom through the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund (CAPF), a fund that is distributed annually in a competitive way among proposals that seek positive changes in their respective countries/ regions. Former Chevening scholars obtained support from this fund to organize, from November 16 to 19, the International Forum of [Inter] active Spaces “Our city, our space,” for debating and raising awareness about the role of public spaces in the community and sustainable development of the city. “The event will be the occasion for academic master lectures, as well as presentations on community projects that promote local development in different parts of the island. The Forum also hopes to promote alliances between Cuban and United Kingdom universities,” explained Gabriela García and Leysi Rubio, founders of the event. “For the Alumni community of Cuba, CAPF’s support for ‘Our city, our space’ accompanies our determination to promote real change in each of our communities, in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the United Nations,” they added. Created in 1983, Chevening extends in the international sphere, with around 50,000 graduates from 160 countries and territories, of which about 120 are Cubans, in line with what was expressed by His Excellency the Ambassador, Dr. Antony Stokes: “The Chevening scholarship scheme is open to Cubans who wish to pursue a master’s degree in any area of ​​study, of all ages, from anywhere in the country, including under-represented groups. We are looking for future leaders in their fields, who will return and contribute to Cuba’s development.” In the sphere of culture and creative industries, the diplomatic mission annually organizes the British Culture Week in order to promote exchange and celebrate the British cultural presence in Cuba, through a varied programming with institutions and creators from both countries, in cinema, theater, dance, plastic and visual arts, music and other artistic manifestations, as well as workshops on creative industries. Seven editions have already been held and the eighth is ready for December, this time with virtual presentations and online events, given the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

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Cuba and the United

Resume Tourism Op INTERVIEW WITH JOEL HERNÁNDEZ, TOURISM COUNSELOR OF THE CUBAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

Joel Hernández, Tourism Counselor of the Cuban Embassy in the United Kingdom.

Counselor, by way of preamble, what is the current situation of the British market, in particular for Cuba? The United Kingdom has gone through a delicate situation in the confrontation with COVID-19; the country has seen 4,600 of its citizens lose their lives and has suffered the contraction of various sectors of its economy. Inserted in this context there is the travel and tourism industry, which has seen how in the first quarter of 2020 visits abroad by British residents decreased by 24%, foreseeing that at the end of this year this figure will have risen to 70%, compared to 2019. In the case of Cuba, the pandemic came at a time when the demand to visit the island exceeded the air capacity in the United Kingdom, largely due to the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, a company that moved 80% of British tourism to destinations such as Holguín, the keys and Varadero. Therefore, the current moment continues to be one of restructuring and reordering a market that has exceeded an emission of 210,000 tourists per year and that has the potential to greatly improve that number. What is the connotation of the fact that the United Kingdom has removed restrictions on travel to Cuba? It was a fair recognition by the British authorities of the Cuban health system and the control of the pandemic on the island, which led the British press to echo our progress and show the public that we were still a safe and viable tourist destination. From that moment on, we noticed an increase in demand for the destination. British citizens were looking for destinations without restrictions and without risk to their life, while Cuba, with its traditional prestige in safety, tranquility and human quality, added a strict and efficient control of the disease, with first-rate measures in its tourist destinations and hotel facilities, and an attractive product despite the current moment. I can assure you that having eliminated it from the list of countries with travel restrictions definitely influenced the good reception that

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TUI’s air operation to Varadero has had and the growing demand that prevails in the market today. What is the strategy followed by Cuba to reverse the effects of the pandemic in that market with a view to the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 seasons? Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been looking for solutions to its impact, trying to foresee and anticipate in time, avoiding not to wait for “everything to pass” to act. A reflection of this are the joint negotiations that allowed TUI’s air operation to Varadero to restart on October 20, with the increase of a weekly frequency to that planned. We have intensified direct contact to support British tour operators interested in restarting or boosting their sales to Cuba, discussing possible joint promotion contracts, analyzing plans and needs, which we also do with travel agencies; in both cases, updating them on the modifications and advances of our tourism product, demonstrating the country’s potential for the immediate future (2021/2022). We are also working to enhance our presence in social networks and the media, providing information to journalists who later publish our reports, as was the case of a recent article in the renowned newspaper The Telegraph, in addition to being immersed in a process of studying new promotional variants. We will also attend the specialized fairs and tourism events that will take place in 2021/2022, in which we have participated for more than 21 years, and that were canceled in 2020. At the same time, our country has adapted the tourist destination to the new conditions and increased safety and hygiene measures, without affecting the tourist product and the traditional attractions that distinguish us. Cuba has not stopped the development of its hotel plant and will continue to grow, perfecting the quality of its service for the 2021/2022 season. Have some tourist operations been reestablished with tour operators and airlines to resume the issuance of tourists to the island? It is something that will grow as the situation in the United Kingdom improves and our destination announces its total opening, but


Operations

for the moment we can already announce that TUI began two operations for autumn-winter 2020-21 with weekly Manchester-Varadero flights, as of October 25, 2020, and London Gatwick-Varadero every Thursday, as of November 5, 2020. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic is planning its reintegration with the possibility of “taking off” as of January 3, 2021 or weeks before. What do you think about the announcement of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Company regarding the establishment in Havana, for 2021/22 aboard the Braemar, its embarkation and disembarkation base, after thanking Cuba for allowing the docking of the ship affected by a COVID outbreak, and assisting in the repatriation of its passengers to the UK? It was an altruistic gesture by the Cuban government towards those passengers, at a time of great uncertainty and when other nations in the region did not give the requested support. Cuba not only accepted to offer its assistance, but it did so efficiently, demonstrating its capacity and humanism. The event was positively reported in the British press and had a significant impact on the population. The announcement of using Havana as the mother port of its operations was also the result of the tourist quality of our destination and the interest of cruise ship customers to stay longer in the capital, as was recognized by Clare Ward, Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Product and Service to Customer, who said: “Using Havana, Cuba, as our new base of exchange allows us to really show the Caribbean in all its splendor. It also means that we can offer extended stays in Havana so that our guests have enough time to enjoy this vibrant city, with nights out or overnight stays when possible…. Havana has always had a high rate of guest satisfaction in our journeys, so it’s great to be able to offer them more opportunities to explore that wonderful port.” What is your opinion regarding the possible preferences, travel motivations and tourist destinations that are most attractive for that market in the new scenario that will prevail when tourism recovers on a global scale?

PHOTO: © MINISTRY OF TOURISM (MINTUR) CUBA

Kingdom

The British generally adore destinations where they can explore the culture of the country and learn from interacting with it, something they achieve in Cuba despite the fact that it’s a Caribbean destination, a region they usually visit in search of sun and beach. Having the peace of mind of being able to do all this in a safe, stable country, with the safety and protection that it offers in dealing with COVID, with a tourism product effectively adapted to the new times, is something that the British value and will surely increase their interest and appreciation for the destination. Will Cuba participate in the virtual edition of WTM 2020? Cuba, immersed in various tasks and strategies to recover the destination and, in this case, the performance of the British market, has decided not to participate in the virtual version of the WTM this year and to focus on specific actions already planned for the period. However, we will be disseminating the changes and improvements that we have made in the sector, including the maintenance of hotels, the completion of new works, improvements to the hygiene and quality system in our tourist centers, and reporting on the result of the actions we carry out in the market with new tour operators and travel agencies. Any other aspect you want to highlight.... The COVID crisis has been an unprecedented situation; all sectors of the economy and society have been affected worldwide, but imagine the cost and sacrifice that this has meant for an island like Cuba, which not only suffers the blockade of the United States government, but also its intensification in recent months. That is why I take advantage of this space to acknowledge the efforts of our government and the Ministry of Tourism in the reorganization of the tourism structure and the priority given to the sector as a fundamental source of income for economic recovery during the coming year. Cuba needs and will need its tourism and we the workers of the sector have worked tirelessly for this; the result will be noticed soon. Thank you for the opportunity.

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PHOTO: © ALEKSEJ SARIFULIN / 123RF

TTC Special: Work from… Caribbean

◼◼ NARMYS CÁNDANO TTC Service

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n recent months, teleworking has become a necessary experience on a global level. Although the distance from our usual work environment is difficult to face, this situation can improve in a heavenly and safe setting like the Caribbean. Therefore, remote work is a proposal of several islands in the region, tending to professional obligations, but very close to relaxation and the incomparable beaches and cultures of the region. Barbados has created the special Barbados Welcome Stamp visa to work for one year from that destination with all the necessary conditions. Details of this proposal are available at www.visitbarbados.org to anyone whose work is independent of location. You can use this option individually or as a family. In a message posted on the aforementioned website, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley welcomes those interested to the Caribbean island, and thanks them for considering making it their new home. She also underlines that safety, friendly people, professional services, among other attributes that make Barbados an ideal place to live, await visitors. Similar is the offer of the “Work from Bermuda Certificate” program, which also invites

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to work from that destination for 12 months, during which time visitors can travel to their country and return. At the address www.gotobermuda.com/ workfrombermuda you can obtain the necessary information. The Certificate allows for distance working and studying from the island with the necessary conditions such as connectivity, car rental, work spaces. Antigua and Barbuda proposes its Nomad Digital Residence program to live and work remotely in the country for two years, the Caribbean Tourism Organization reports. The minister of tourism, the Honorable Charles Fernandez, said that the destination represents the perfect place for an escapade and to enjoy all the space a person needs to move, think and work. Cuba has also joined the list and it’s Meliá Hotels International that makes the proposal. A press release from Meliá Cuba states that for this it is working with the authorities of the island’s Ministry of Tourism and the owners of the hotels, a proposal for a new accommodation regime that seeks to encourage travel and stays to carry out distance work from Cuba.

It highlights that Cuba has dealt with the pandemic in an exemplary way, it has been recognized internationally endorsing it as the safest regional destination. Meliá Hotels International Cuba, the report adds, has the resources and infrastructure to start operating with this new segment. Both in urban hotels and in holiday destinations, there are installations that provide facilities with excellent technological services, types of rooms adjustable for long stays and complementary services to the client. Other chains are also making their offers. Work from Hyatt is the package launched by that company in several hotels in North America and the Caribbean, where it promotes a balance between work and school life with the comforts of a Premium resort experience, according to www.expreso.info. Similar is the proposal of Marriot International, which has adapted some of its rooms to work and enjoy in destinations such as Mexico, Barbados and Bermuda, the website hotelier.com.py says. Thus, distance working can also have its good side. Betting on the Caribbean, without a doubt, has its charm.


EMSERPET creates mobile accommodations and assists you in any part of Cuba

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he Petroleum Services Company EMSERPET is an entity subordinate to the Unión Cuba-Petróleo of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Recognized under its current name since 2002, EMSERPET has base units in six of the country’s provinces. Its portfolio especially includes the mobile accommodation service: it offers the possibility of installing camps that adapt to the needs and characteristics of each client, and in the area of ​​the country where it is required. Equipped with comfortable, properly

air-conditioned rooms, bathrooms with hot and cold water and a recreation room with digital television, it includes food and associated laundry and cleaning services. Some of its other main services are: food, accommodation, recreation and transportation, as well as a wide range of comprehensive services: brigades specialized in waterproofing and roofing; protocol assistance to national and foreign delegations; gardening and mowing, cleaning of premises, laundry, construction maintenance brigades, cargo transportation.

CONTACTS ANNABEL GUZMÁN COMAS Head of Protocol and Events Group  +53 5 209 9705  anabel@geoserv.cupet.cu ABEL LÁZARO ARIAS AQUINO Legal Advisor Principal Specialist  +53 5 209 3110  abel.arias@geoserv.cupet.cu OIL SERVICES COMPANY Main office Calle 19 #910 e/ 6 y 8, Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba

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EXCLUSIVE

Federation of Congress Organizing Entities of Latin America (COCAL): Education and Professionalization of Events Industry INTERVIEW WITH MRS. ELIZABETH TOVAR, PRESIDENT OF COCAL

First of all, it would be convenient if you could offer us an overview of the work that the organization is currently carrying out. The Federation of Congress Organizing Entities of Latin America is a non-profit association that brings together the value chain of the Meetings Industry through members representing countries and individual members. These, in turn, provide COCAL with around 4,500 professionals with whom we have contact through our database. Our Federation has had as its main objective the education and professionalization of the industry, allowing us through these actions to be more competitive and productive in this very global world. Additionally, as of August of this year, we have added three additional pillars to our education efforts: networking, transformation and inclusion. For this we have set up seven working committees, which will have the functions of transforming COCAL into an association with more benefits for its members. In this context, we have signed agreements with various international associations such as PCMA with which we specified the promotion of the Digital Event Strategist certifications in its 3 modalities and with AIEE for its CEM certification in Spanish and Portuguese. We have signed a collaboration agreement with the Latin American Association of

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Elizabeth Tovar.

Bureaus that every two years will join the COCAL Congress to hold its own meeting. We were also able to carry out a program of forums via broadcast in Spanish, English and Portuguese, which began in June and will end in November, some of which have had the cooperation of Meetings Alliance, Shocklogic and Eventia. COCAL developed a magnificent relationship with IBTM Americas and IMEX through which we have been able to validate qualified buyers for their free attendance at these events and secure significant discounts to participate in their face-to-face and virtual events. Our participation with the Events Industry Council as members of the Recovery Committee and the APEX Committee has been of great importance. We have signed an agreement with the Monterrey Cluster to direct the Meeting Design Certification in Latin America, an avant-garde tool in Spanish. In general, we have developed a strategy to approach the industry’s entire value chain.

How is the panorama of the post-pandemic meeting industry defined? The outlook has been one of uncertainty in 2020, where positive reactions are timid and where events were completely virtual. For 2021 we estimate a partial recovery, since it is the opinion of the experts in the field of infections and pandemics that, despite a possible vaccine, we will have to live with the virus from now on. However, we will begin to be more proactive, with more air connectivity, more activity in the industry and an incorporation of technology to make almost all events hybrid. From 2022 onwards we will see that the recovery will be complete and the hybrid events will continue permanently. What experiences has this stage contributed to the federation with a view to the future organization of events? We analyzed the need to fill the void of a technological education by providing the international DES certification for Latin America, and of a management education that would allow us to understand the reengineering that we must apply to our companies


PHOTO: © MATEJ KASTELIC / 123RF

for their subsistence. We were also able to create a repository of documents that would serve as reference material for governments in Latin America with regard to COVID-19 regulations and protocols. The vision, lobbying and proactivity of COCAL have made it possible to reformulate several measures taken in Latin America that could have delayed even more the recovery of the industry. What are the strategies of COCAL to support the recovery of this segment in Latin America? The first measures have been forceful when participating for the first time in the Committee for the Recovery of the Events Industry Council in the drafting of the standards for said recovery. We have also been part of the Board of Directors of mostly American associations such as PCMA and EIC, which in turn execute lobbying plans with governments in order to help reopen hotels and airports in our communities with biosafety. COCAL has also created social media campaigns supporting safe reopening actions, bringing to its public chats the best practices in the operation of meeting destinations. In order to highlight the importance of the meetings industry, what is the role of this sector in the global economy today? The industry could now be the best injection of economic, social and psychological

spillover for destinations. It has been proven that this industry has always recovered rapidly. However, the unfair lack of trust in the protocols leads us to spread the feeling of fear towards events that we have not developed by going to other sites. Nowadays, the world economy has stopped receiving due to the paralysis of the meetings industry, almost 60% less than the 13% that it contributed to the World Gross Domestic Product before the pandemic. Today we will hardly reach 5% of the World GDP, not counting the damage to the small and medium-sized industry that constitutes a large part of the service providers in the sector. Next year a new COCAL congress will be held. What will be its objectives? What expectations does the organization’s executive have with regard to this event? The objective of the Congress is to show the possibility of having a biosafe and successful congress in terms of the expectations of participation, networking and education, accompanied by innovative technologies and a quality program. The first congress in two years will be in the Dominican Republic, since the last was held in Panama in 2018, then the Lima meeting was canceled and we are looking forward to seeing each other again.

Cítricos Caribe S.A. Markets the Most Authentic of Cuban Agriculture

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ítricos Caribe S.A., an export-import entity recognized for its experience in foreign trade, has among its main exportable goods the vegetable charcoal made from the marabú bush, produced entirely by artisanal techniques. Marketed in different formats for use in industry and in the home, this product enjoys great prestige and preference for its hardness and aroma.

In addition, the company exports fresh fruits and vegetables, which contribute vitamins and minerals to health, distinguished by their texture and unmistakable flavor, thanks to the tropical conditions of the Cuban climate. Among its exportable items are Bee Honey and various beehive products, which are achieved through the management of almost virgin ecosystems without the use of

chemicals, making it possible to obtain totally natural products that are a balm on health for those who consume them. Likewise, Cítricos Caribe S.A. provides professional services in the agricultural sphere, in fruit growing, horticulture, grain and tropical tubers sectors: advice, consulting and training in Good Agricultural Practices, specialized agricultural technical assistance, among others.

Ave. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes No. 774 e/ Tulipán y Conil Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba  +53 7 881 4768 / 7 882 0122 / 7 882 0446 ext 112, 164, 165  dirmercadotecnia@ccaribe.co.cu  www.ccaribe.co.cu  direxportaciones@ccaribe.co.cu

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Varadero Open to Int

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uba’s main beach resort, Varadero, whose beach has been considered, for the third consecutive year, among the 10 best in the world, resumed operations for international tourism on October 15, under all the required biosafety protocols. Meanwhile, it is preparing to host the 40th FITCuba 2021 International Tourism Fair next May, an edition dedicated to the sun and beach modality, and which will have Russia as guest country. Numerous construction works, involving more than 9,000 improvements, aimed at refining the image of the destination, increasing and diversifying the complementary

Ivis Fernández. Photo: TTC.

offer and raising the quality of the product, were active during the pause imposed by the sanitary restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Boulevard de Varadero. Photo: TTC.

Mystique Casa Perla By Royalton boutique hotel. Photo: TTC.

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The Boulevard de Varadero, located between 61 and 64 streets, from 1st to 2nd Avenue, whose partial opening is scheduled for next November 15, will have a high impact on the beach resort, according to the delegate of the Minister of Tourism in the province of Matanzas, Ivis Fernández. Marked with billboards from various points of the tourist city, it occupies an area of ​​7,000 m2 and will be beautifully animated by a fountain of jets, flexo-shapes in bright colors and decorative architectural objects. The only one of its kind in the country in a sun and beach destination, with a design that breaks the usual architectural schemes of a single street with neighboring

establishments, it will have a set of new extra-hotel services–commercial, gastronomic and cultural–”which will be able to satisfy the most demanding tastes,” according to the delegate. The Plaza de Artesanos stands out, with an attractive design, where the travel agency offices are located, as well as the Hostal Boulevard, operated by the Islazul chain, with 10 high-standard rooms, an outdoor barbecue and a wine cellar. There is also a varied gastronomic offer: three specialized restaurants–Russian, Swiss French and Asian; the casas of Chocolate, Coffee, Habano and Rum, with which the circle of star lines in Cuba closes; and more than 10 mobile points and 12 specialized kiosks that will sell alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, sugarcane juice, ice creams, Cuban sweets, barbecued and fried dishes, tacos and crepes, seafood, pizzas.... In addition, with a view to raising its standards and renewing its image, the Plaza América Convention Center, the second in the country and the main venue of FITCuba, underwent a complete redesign and capital repair that included renovation, general reform, expansion of exhibition rooms and modernization of their systems, remodeling of areas and extension of the parking lot. Likewise, the proposals of shops, gastronomy, nautical sports and car rental are increased.


nternational Tourism

All health protocols are implemented at the Meliá Internacional Hotel. Photo: Courtesy of Meliá Hotels International Cuba.

The Mansión Xanadú, which acts as the Club House of the Varadero Golf Club, will also show all its luxury and splendor, on its 90th anniversary, for the FITCuba 2021 participants, after having been renovated under a meticulous process that opts for the award to the best restoration of the year, given its high quality and for rescuing the original Beach Club. In addition, the iconic lookout bar was renovated. Perhaps this destination’s most popular recreation and entertainment site is the Josone Park, which has also benefited from investments aimed at the comprehensive improvement of all its objects, particularly the main restaurants; cleaning of the beautiful lake and rehabilitation of the tunnel as an access route to the beach. In an effort to revive the so-called traditional Varadero, multiple interventions have been carried out, such as the change of design in the extra-hotel facilities on 1st Avenue– Fortuna Bar, El Caribeño cafeteria, Floridita Bar (exact replica of the one in Havana) and Complejo Mediterráneo–and the construction of the Parador Fotográfico, in the beach area of​​ the busy Calle 30. The product of the highest standard in this area, in the heart of the city, will be the Mystique Casa Perla By Royalton boutique hotel, with 10 rooms, operated by the Gran Caribe Hotel Group and which will be managed by the Blue Diamond Resorts chain; still

in the investment process to be inaugurated in this 2020-2021 winter season. It is located in a Grade 1 heritage building, overlooking the sea, which was awarded the National Architecture Prize in 1946. Designed for a high-standard segment, it will operate under a bed + breakfast regime with very exclusive and personalized services. Tourist exploitation in Varadero is being carried out in perfect harmony with an effective protection of the environment, according to a scientifically based national program, to guarantee a sustainable tourism. In this direction, actions were carried out to rehabilitate the beach, such as the repair of footbridges and the assembly of new ones, sand dredging and improvement of the Cayo Blanco beach area. Another of the investments of great impact is the extension WiFi connection to all areas of the destination and hotels, including beach areas, which was a general claim of visitors. One hundred percent of the hotels in Varadero are ready to receive clients and are accredited with the Tourism + Hygienic and Safe (T+HS) certification, with an additional staff of a doctor, a nurse and an epidemiologist, available full time; it also has the experience of the summer of 2020 with the domestic market, without any contagion of COVID-19 having been registered. Based on a gradual opening according to

demand, 12 facilities have started, and it is estimated the beach resort will receive between 2,500 and 6,000 tourists at this moment. It is worth emphasizing that all approved sanitary protocols are implemented in order to avoid contagion, in accordance with the measures adopted by the Ministry of Tourism, advised by the Ministry of Public Health, from the arrival at the Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport and during the transportation and stay. The destination’s main markets are: Canada, Cuba (in particular, Havana), Russia, Germany, Argentina, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, a group that has contributed around 70% of the clients in recent years. The United Kingdom, Germany and Canada were the first markets to confirm operations for this reopening, represented by TUI UK, TUI Germany, Meeting Point of Germany and Air Canada Vacations, among other tour operators. Currently, Varadero has 52 hotels with more than 22,000 rooms, 80% of which are managed by prestigious international chains; it registers 48% repeat visits; has a varied complementary network with extensive recreational options, and offers its clients about 60 excursions. Varadero is proud to uphold among its greatest strengths, shared with the rest of the country, the comprehensive safety of the destination.

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Empresa Comercial Renews its Image in


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art of the investments carried out in the beach resort of Varadero include the reform of the Plaza América Convention Center, where the more than 20 establishments that Tiendas Caracol has for the commercialization of exclusive and representative products of traditional Cuban culture are also being renewed. Under the premise of customer satisfaction, Tiendas Caracol specializes in the retail marketing of merchandise with an exclusive and quality offer of Imagen Cuba and Souvenir products, the usual sun and beach products, and other brands of recognized international prestige, among other high-quality services. The El Monarca Casa del Habano is another of the representative exponents of the company that will also show a superior image and comfort. Likewise, between 62nd and th 64 streets in Varadero, a boulevard with interior passages is being prepared that will allow free

Caracol S.A. n Varadero

Calle 1ª No. 2003 e/ 20 y 22, Miramar, Playa, La Habana Teléfono: +53 7 2041610, 7 204 3967 Facebook: @tiendascaracolcuba

transit, called to become an important recreational center. The new seven-hectare space will have varied commercial and gastronomic offers, and will show visitors flagship Cuban products such as coffee, cigars and rum in their respective Casas of the Empresa Comercial Caracol S.A. Cuba has a rich history in the cultivation of coffee, which has become one of the main export products today and one of the most recognized internationally. The first coffee trees arrived on the island in 1748 through Havana merchant José Antonio Gelabert, who began cultivating them near Havana. Other historians, mainly of Hispanic origin, place the arrival of the coffee beans in Cuba in 1769 from San Juan de Puerto Rico. The truth is that at the end of the 18th century there was a great explosion in the cultivation of coffee in Cuban lands to turn what is now called Pure Cuban Coffee into one of the country’s main commercial products and a brand of excellence recognized worldwide. Besides its exclusive products, Cuba has countless attractions that go beyond its offer of sun and beach. Its nature, heritage, culture, sports, adventure also draw visitors’ attention, for which the national tourism industry has established efficient biosafety protocols, a context in which Tiendas Caracol has readied the opening and development of new stores and products to please the most demanding tastes of its customers. The strength of a safe destination like Varadero is due to the hygienic and sanitary measures adopted by the Ministry of Tourism, advised by the Public Health portfolio, and international entities, and which have been implemented with discipline and on time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


CUBA: FEEL A SAFE DESTINATION

Cuba’s keys: safe paradises for a perfect getaway

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deal beaches, warm, transparent waters, surprising and welcoming nature, risk-free environment: Cuba is a safe destination. Its keys, sun and beach paradises, currently offer the ideal plan to escape the harsh reality of recent months. Distributed in the west, center and east of the country, these exclusive places were the first destinations that resumed operations on the Caribbean island with a view to the recovery of its tourism industry, under rigorous sanitary hygiene protocols, part of the T+HS (Tourism more Hygienic and Safer) certification established by the Ministry of Tourism, which respond to the indications of the World Health Organization, the World Tourism Organization and the Ministry of Public Health. These measures, to be carried out in airports, hotels, means of transportation, restaurants, and other tourist facilities, require temperature control, disinfection of surfaces with products approved for this purpose, social distancing, the use of masks, the digitization of the processes for clients, among other norms. Each hotel has at its disposal teams of doctors and epidemiologists, and if necessary, both for clients and workers, appropriate tests, transfers and hospitalizations are planned. In addition, all foreign tourists are screened on their arrival at the airport using the real-time PCR test to identify possible COVID-19 infections. In this safe environment, the Cuban keys offer attractive options that include, in addition to stays in high-standard hotels, excursions, nautical and sports activities, direct contact with nature, car rental, plus the tireless effort of the personnel of the sector to provide each client with the maximum well-being. Cayo Largo del Sur: Located on the eastern tip of Los Canarreos archipelago, it takes up an area of 37 ​​ km2 and is 25 km long. Its main attraction is its virgin beaches, in particular Sirena and Paraíso, two of the best preserved in the world, according to National Geographic

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magazine. Playa Paraíso, in particular, ranked third among the 25 best in the Caribbean in the 2020 Travellers’ Choice awards. The coral reef formations that border the key outline an impressive underwater scenery. In full harmony with the ecosystem, it has a modern hotel plant, an international marina, an international diving center and an international airport. Villa Clara keys: It is made up of Cayo Santa María, Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Ensenachos, linked to the mainland by a 48 km causeway. It has an exuberant nature, virgin beaches and great biodiversity. A comfortable hotel infrastructure has been developed that goes with this natural setting, and a marina-dolphinarium and an international diving center have been set up. There’s an international airport just a few kilometers away, in the city of Santa Clara. Jardines del Rey: Northern-coast archipelago baptized by the Spanish in honor of King Ferdinand the Catholic, and immortalized by famous U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway, who was inspired by the paradisiacal islands to write his book Islands in the Stream. It has a marina, a nautical base and three international diving centers. Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are the most prominent keys of the group of islets with an excellent state of conservation of their flora and fauna, protected by one of the most notable coral reefs in the Caribbean region. A 17 km causeway connects Cayo Coco with the mainland. It is linked to Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Paredón Grande by a road network. The international airport, in Cayo Coco, facilitates access to the destination and connects it with several cities in the country. Cayo Cruz: Accessible both from Cayo Coco (80 km) and from the city of Camagüey (130 km) through two causeways that cross an impressive landscape. Its tourist infrastructure is in full expansion. Cayo Saetía: A popular destination for optional excursions, it is conceived as a Natural Reserve, at the entrance to Nipe Bay, the largest in


Cuba; it occupies an area of 42 ​​ km2 featuring beaches and an open natural park, in which exotic and native animals live freely. It can be accessed by road, air or sea. Specialized publications and authorities of the sector attest to the safety of the Cuba destination. The largest of the Caribbean islands is among the most sought-after sites by Canadian and Spanish tourists, according to data from the Skyscanner flight search engine, according to a report by the company Fowardkeys. Then there is no better decision. Cuba invites travelers seeking to be reborn and to be revitalized for a new stage of their lives, to breathe nature, landscapes, adventure, experiences and emotions.

Jardines del Rey, the northern-coast archipelago baptized by the Spanish in honor of King Ferdinand the Catholic, and immortalized by famous U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway. Photo: Julio Alvite Piedra.

Cayo Cruz has a tourist infrastructure in full expansion.

PHOTO: JULIO ANTONIO ALVITE PIEDRA

Experience to grow Don’t wait any longer to make your company achieve better performance, opt for our professional audit, consultancy and advisory services associated with economic profiles, commercial and financial management, foreign trade and foreign investment. We identify with integrity, experience, constant improvement, innovation, creativity and teamwork. We have successfully implemented a new Consultancy modality using digital media, which allow exchanges from anywhere in the world, with Foreign Entities (individuals, individual entrepreneurs and legal entities), interested in doing business with Cuba, or with those based on the island. Thus, you can obtain the necessary information on business opportunities, tax issues and other current legal provisions, and even collaborate in the creation of the documents required for the approval of future businesses. Foreign entities with representation in Cuba can find in CANEC vital support in accounting, financial auditing, advisory and consulting services for Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade. We provide you with all contractual guarantees and safe forms of payment based on previously agreed rates. Contacts: www.canec.cu mercadotecnia@oc.canec.co.cu

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◼◼ AIDA LILIANA MORALES TEJEDA ◼◼ OMAR LÓPEZ RODRÍGUEZ Office of the Conservationist of the City of Santiago de Cuba

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t present the world of tourism is directing its interests towards the modality of cultural itineraries or cultural tourist routes, as one of the fastest growing tourist territorial resources. They are thus valued for the development of heritage as well as for the smokeless industry. International organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS have taken an interest in these modalities. Our country has not been immune to these new proposals. Eastern Cuba is a vital geographical and cultural space to develop this tourist modality. The eastern region of

Tourist Itineraries in Eastern Cuba: 505 Years of Santiago de Cuba Culture 20ttc

PHOTO: © VICENTE GONZÁLEZ DÍAZ

El Cobre, National Sanctuary.


the Cuban archipelago forms the head of the alligator, an animal whose resemblance is attributed to it. It is the widest portion of an island that is characterized by being long and narrow. Important orographic systems are concentrated in it: the Sierra Maestra mountain range, that runs along its southern coast, the Sierra Cristal, in the center east, and Maniabón heights, to the west. The rugged geography unifies and strengthens the social psychology of belonging of the eastern population, it has an enviable intangible wealth of customs, traditions, natural, historical, cultural and anthropic resources that make it one of the fundamental epicenters of the Cuba destination. Santiago de Cuba was the island’s capital for more than 400 years; at present it

continues to be a center of attraction and confluence of all the residents who are proud to belong to this region. The celebration of the 505th anniversary of the founding of the township of Santiago de Cuba is an opportune moment to value its historical role and its cultural significance in an encompassing territory that we call Eastern Cuba. Since colonial times this vast area was an administrative unit with various names: Eastern Department, Santiago de Cuba province and Oriente province. After the 1976 political-administrative division, it was turned into five provinces: Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo. Numerous and diverse elements unify and distinguish them, but without a doubt, history plays a relevant role in this part of Cuba. The

five provinces concentrate 109 National Monuments, and 5 World Heritage Sites that include one in the category of Intangible Heritage. The tourist routes or tours include interpretive circuits, thematic itineraries that intertwine stories about a specific theme, whether based on an event, manifestations of architecture, history, religiosity. In this sense, the eastern region has valuable potential yet to be developed in all its dimensions. One of the most attractive routes is the one resulting from the archaeological landscape of the first coffee plantations in the southeast of Cuba, which links the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo: both share the remains of more than 170 coffee plantations, fostered by French immigration since the late 18th century and much of the 19th century. Deployed both in the Sierra Maestra and in the Sagua-Nipe-Baracoa mountain range, they are exponents of the most flourishing and productive coffee belt of the time. Declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it is capable of generating multiple interpretative circuits that meet the requirements of the most varied types and modalities of tourism, as it combines architectural, archaeological, landscape and cultural values.

It is possible to admire the vestiges of a productive culture through the ruins of the old coffee plantations, the construction of bridges, imposing aqueducts, road systems that masterfully take advantage of the rugged topography, as well as the proper use of rivers, streams and springs. Since the 19th century, many travelers who made excursions to these sites were amazed by the paradisiacal nature that is interrelated with the work of man, the built gardens are impressive, but also the large forests with exuberant vegetation and fruit trees with exotic fruits capable of satisfying the most unsuspected desires. Ancestral traditions linked to the process of planting, harvesting, and processing coffee are maintained. Getting to these mountains will be a genuine and unique encounter with some of the best of our cultural heritage. Meanwhile, if you travel through the Gran Piedra mountain range, a huge volcanic rock, 51 m long, 25 m wide, with a

Our Lady of Charity, Cuba’s Patron Saint.

PHOTO: © RUBÉN AJA

One of the most attractive routes is the one resulting from the archaeological landscape of the first coffee plantations in the southeast of Cuba.

calculated weight of 63,000 tons, which is located on top of a mountain 1,225 m above sea level, you will find a natural lookout point from where you can see a beautiful landscape of the Sierra Maestra and the coast of the Caribbean Sea. Likewise, the Ruta de la Virgen is a landscape that unites the provinces of Holguín and Santiago de Cuba. It starts from the Bay of Nipe, where the image of Our Lady of Charity was found in 1612, to El Cobre, a mining town where the national sanctuary is located and where Cuba’s Patron Saint is venerated, declared a National Monument in 2012. It is an extensive geographical landscape of around 160 kilometers and includes several municipalities, towns and hamlets, where the sea, plains and mountainous areas are combined in perfect harmony. Part of the natural, archaeological and historical sites traditionally linked to the discovery and first veneration of Our Lady of Charity, such as

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Tourist Itineraries in Eastern Cuba: 505 Years of Santiago de Cuba Culture The vast eastern region was the site of the beginning of the Cuban independence wars in the 19th century. Many are the important sites related to them. It was here that Carlos Manuel de Céspedes gave the cry for independence at his La Demajagua sugar mill. An itinerary where nature, trekking and historical tourism would be correctly linked in the route from Playita de Cajobabo to Dos Ríos, closely related to the life of National Hero José Martí. It includes the site where they landed on April 10, 1895 and the camps where they spent the night, located in territories that correspond to three provinces: Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba and Granma.

PHOTO: © VICENTE GONZÁLEZ DÍAZ

Cayo de la Virgen (the site of an obelisk) are preserved; Barajagua la Vieja (parish where Our Lady of Charity was deposited, rebuilt and with a beautiful image of the saint on the outside), among others. The described path represents the early process of cultural interaction between the three races: indigenous, Spanish and African, and the devotion to Our Lady of Charity constitutes the central and foundational myth of Cuban culture. El Cobre as a town is exceptional from the aesthetic point of view, due to the excellent combination of the surrounding relief, characterized by the rugged profile of the mountains and the cultural complex personified by the urban settlement and the basilica of Cuba’s Patron Saint. Three fundamental elements are identified: religion, linked to the cult of Our Lady of Charity; mining, through the existence of the first copper mines in America, exploited as of the 17th century; and the beginning of runaway slaves representing patriotic symbolism and the most important slave protests in Cuba. Materiality and spirituality are embraced in the exclusivity of the symbiosis between chromatic diversity, the imperishable traces of the slave rebellion and the national identity of a religious veneration that sustains the faith and hope of a people rooted in their customs and folklore.

Mausoleum to José Martí, where his remains are found, in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. Photo: René Silveira Toledo.

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In addition to getting acquainted with the vicissitudes that these combatants faced, it will be possible to experience passages that José Martí captured in his Campaign Diary, such as the recipes of the farmers’ traditional sweets, fruit and timber trees, the beauty and majesty of the fields of eastern Cuba with their rugged topography. Eastern Cuba is a reservoir of other sites linked to National Hero José Martí, in this case the proposed route is closer to funeral tourism. The sister provinces of Granma and Santiago de Cuba have the Marti funeral route featuring a pilgrimage through sites declared National Monuments, from Dos Ríos, the place where Martí fell in battle, the Remanganaguas cemetery, the first burial place, the Palma Soriano park, the local monument Mamoncillo Francés–where Spanish soldiers hid José Martí’s body to avoid it being rescued by the Mambí fighters when it was being taken to Santiago de Cuba to be buried–and the old San Luis Rural Guard Barracks. Thus, firsthand, you will be able to get to know actions carried out by Cubans for more than a century for the preservation of these places, in addition to beautiful traditions and how, thanks to the humility of the farmers and simple people of the wellknown Via Sagrada (Holy Way), Cuban history is renewed every day.


An event of international importance was the 1898 Spanish-Cuban-American War, in which the eastern region and especially the former province of Oriente played a leading role. For those interested in underwater tourism, they can immerse themselves in history and visit the wrecks corresponding to the ships of the Spanish armada sunk along the coast of the province. From the bay of Santiago de Cuba to the base of the Turquino, some of their parts are even visible from the Granma

The Loma de San Juan Urban Historic Site, declared a National Monument, was the scene of one of the main land battles of the SpanishCuban-American War in 1898.

PHOTO: © VICENTE GONZÁLEZ DÍAZ

highway, a unique landscape with the constant interaction between the sea and the mountains. It is of interest to visit the landing sites on the beaches of Daiquirí and Siboney, as well as the scenes of the most important battles, converted for almost a century into significant historical parks that house commemorative constructions representative of the three contending armies: Cuban, Spanish and U.S., always in interaction with the exuberant surrounding nature.

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Tourist Itineraries in Eastern Cuba: 505 Years of Santiago de Cuba Culture

The Rebel Route, as is called the one that can be carried out between the buildings, sites, and areas linked to the last stage of the liberation feat, declared a National Monument and which includes the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Guantánamo and Holguín. A prominent site is the farm house where Fidel and Raúl Castro Ruz were born, in Birán, an area that today is part of the province of Holguín; it features great attractions as it is very close to the Sierra Cristal, among them the cavern where during the 1895 war the Mambí newspaper El Cubano Libre was published, and which in the stage of national liberation was part of the Frank País II Eastern Front. The Route begins in the city of Santiago de Cuba with those sites linked to the assault on the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953, buildings of high heritage value and some of architectural value, where you can see firsthand the momentous events in which the youth of the Generation of the Centennial played a prominent role: the old Moncada Barracks (converted into the 26 de Julio School City), the Granjita Siboney (now a museum), the Vivac (former royal prison of Santiago de Cuba and the place where Fidel Castro was taken after being taken prisoner after the assault), the Palace of Justice, Abel Santamaría Park, Boniato prison.

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The old Moncada Barracks were converted into the 26 de Julio School City. Photo: René Silveira Toledo.

The Granjita Siboney is now a museum. Photo: René Silveira Toledo.


A second stage would be linked to those places that are part of the stage from the landing of the yacht Granma until January 1, 1959. It would begin in Las Coloradas beach, then the foothills of the Sierra Maestra where important combats took place. A nature of great beauty, with numerous rivers and from where magnificent views can be observed, it constitutes an exceptional lookout point to contemplate the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The flora of the area presents a marked endemism and great diversity, in this sense being considered an area of national ​​ significance. A type of vegetation unique to the Cuban archipelago, which has great scientific and conservation interest, appears here. In this wide geographical setting, where the Desembarco del Granma National Park and the Pico Turquino are located, are the Comandancia (rebel forces’ headquarters) in La Plata and the scenes of the Rebel Army’s most important battles, where history vibrates in monuments, museums and in its affable and industrious inhabitants. Santiago de Cuba has the honor of being the city from where, on January 1, 1959, the triumph of the Revolution was proclaimed to the world, one of the most glorious pages in Cuban history. This city has welcomed other important events, among them, awarding the city in 1984 the title of Hero City of the Republic of Cuba and the Antonio Maceo order. Our country is committed to healthy tourism that, while contributing to leisure and recreation, enables the spiritual and intellectual growth of those who visit us. Today, after several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are preparing for the arrival of tourists to Cuba, with new responsibilities. May these lines serve as homage and tribute to the Hero City and its citizens who live, day by day, building a better city, open to the world and increasingly embellished.

The Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that was the scene of some of the most momentous historical events in the nation. Photo: ©Rafal Cichawa / 123RF

Oficina del Conservador de la Ciudad de Santiago de Cuba Grupo Relaciones Públicas y Diseño Phone: +53 22 669249 ciudadculturalsantiago@occ.co.cu internos.occnet.cu

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Cuban Institute of Gastroenterology: Excellence in Medical Care and Professional Training 26ttc

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leading center of the specialty in the country, the Institute of Gastroenterology holds the highest level of Hospital Accreditation with emphasis on the field of research and teaching. Based on the prestige of Cuban medicine, it offers a personalized service that guarantees a high level of patient satisfaction. The leading international healthcare programs focus on: ĥĥ Comprehensive evaluation of adult patients and children with Chronic Hepatitis caused by virus B. ĥĥ Comprehensive care for adult patients and children with Chronic Hepatitis caused by virus C. ĥĥ Evaluation, treatment and monitoring of cirrhosis of the liver and its complications. ĥĥ Integration of natural and traditional medicine in the quality of life of patients with chronic liver diseases: liver failure, cirrhosis.


Fujifilm Sonar H1 Endoscopic Ultrasound Machine

Fujifilm 7000 Series Digestive Endoscopy Equipment

Microtone

Coba c311 Chemical Autoanalyzer

Mindray Hematology Complex

Cobas AmpliPrep

request the pickup and return to the airport. Its location in the central area of El Vedado, in Havana, makes it possible to combine medical treatment with tours of the modern city, where there are art galleries, museums, cinemas and the famous Havana Malecón.

endoscopic treatments that previously required major surgical intervention.

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Physiological, diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic care for diseases of the digestive tract. (Manometry, endoscopy, enteroscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP and related techniques)

Patients with diseases of the small intestine, bile ducts and pancreas, as well as of pediatric gastroenterology are also cared for. The services include consultation and reconsultation with an expert professor, who will determine the necessary investigations to be carried out, both hematological, hemochemical, immunological, as well as imaging, endoscopic and histopathological studies that will allow a definitive diagnosis, as well as the corresponding therapy. Finally, the patient is given a medical report with the conclusions, recommendations and subsequent follow-up. The Institute offers a hospitalization service with excellent comfort and privacy, with the possibility of providing accommodation for a companion. Optionally, the patient can

MODERN TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICAL SERVICES The center has advanced technologies in areas such as: Diagnostic Media Laboratory, Endoscopy and Digestive Physiology services, Ultrasound and Pathological Anatomy that offer high diagnostic precision. Equipment such as the Fujifilm Sonar H1 Echo-endoscopy capture high resolution images, elastography, dynamic contrast, among other benefits for the treatment of diseases of the digestive tract and neighboring organs. Also, the Fujifilm 7000 series endoscopy equipment can diagnose precancerous lesions and cancer in its early stages, and perform

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING With the guarantee of Cuban excellence in medical training, the Center offers possibilities for professional improvement through the study of the specialty and the following postgraduate courses and trainings, taught by specialists of recognized trajectory: ĥĥ Nursing in digestive endoscopy ĥĥ Advances in gastroenterology ĥĥ Abdominal ultrasound ĥĥ Colonoscopy and polypectomy ĥĥ Upper diagnostic endoscopy ĥĥ Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and diagnostic upper endoscopy. Backed by more than half a century of experience with important scientific results and the high qualification of its workers, the Institute of Gastroenterology guarantees excellence in medical care and professional training.

 Calle 25 #503 e/H e I, Plaza, Havana, Cuba  +53 7 832 5067  +53 7 836 8101  smcgastro@infomed.sld.cu  www.ige.sld.cu

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erhaps many British citizens wonder the reason for opening the Yellow Submarine club in Havana. No less than in Cuba, the so-called Island of Music. All this is true, but it can’t be forgotten that the geographic proximity to the United States has traditionally marked not only the economic evolution of this country but also its cultural movement. Therefore, the 20th century way of life of U.S. society was felt from different perspectives in Cuba and in popular music. However, when The Beatles appeared on the universal scene, the musical direction of the world changed. And Cuba was no exception. Although the dispute between the governments of the United States and Cuba determined that the records made in the U.S. would not circulate in the country when trade relations between both nations were broken, the Cuban youth of that time managed to be informed about the evolution of rock as the fashionable genre of those times. Either through listening to longwave radio stations from the United States; capturing the BBC’s Spanish broadcasts or the records that people traveling abroad brought with them, it wasn’t long before we realized that rock ‘n’ roll could have been born in the United States, but the rock empire had an indisputable British trademark. Of course, the evolution of The Beatles as the best rock group determined that many young Cubans had them among their favorites, at the same time as knowing all the incidents of their successful professional career. And whoever says The Beatles says The Rolling Stones, with a different aesthetic line from that of the famous Liverpool quartet as happened with The Animals, The Hollies or The Yardbirds. However, I remember the first time I heard Led Zeppelin’s Volume No. 1. It was such a shocking experience that as a faithful follower of The Beatles, I said publicly that I didn’t like them, but I knew intimately that it was the next revelation of British rock. No one could sing with the passionate intensity of Robert Plant, any more than there was another drummer as powerful as John Bonham, nor a prominent multi-instrumentalist like John Paul Jones, much less have a director as daringly innovative as Jimmy Page, besides being the emblematic guitarist of hard rock. At that time, two groups of fans were formed, divided between those who followed

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Led Zeppelin and others Deep Purple, a group that, although it had an extraordinary singer like Ian Gillan and a legendary guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore, Zeppelin was a devastating tsunami that didn’t give no other the opportunity to share the scepter of hard rock. By the beginning of the 1970s, young Cuban lovers of the genre already knew perfectly well that U.S. rock had exceptional isolated figures such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, as well as some renowned groups such as Grand Funk Railroad, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Jefferson Airplane or Lynyrd Skynyrd among others. But it also became clear that, at the same time, Great Britain had become the center of a highly

PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER HUGHES / CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION-SHARE ALIKE 3.0 UNITED STATES

◼◼ GUILLERMO VILAR Critic (Cuba)

PHOTO: DOUGLAS MACKENZIE / 123RF

Following Footsteps of British Rock in Cuba


VICTORIA DE GIRÓN AGRIBUSINESS ENTERPRISE

More than 50 Years Exporting Citrus with a Tropical Flavor

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onsidered the largest citrus producer in Cuba, the Victoria de Girón Agribusiness Enterprise, covering an area of 500 km2, has a portfolio of export products whose main strength is focused on the accentuated flavor of its fruits, the use of raw materials that do not come from genetically modified organisms and that come from its own plantations, where the use of agrochemicals is increasingly limited. The above is supported by the SGF (Sure Global Fair) with participation in the Fruit Risk Assessment Program for Pesticides (FRAPP). Persian variety limes, Cuban avocados, hot peppers of the Habanero Chile variety, white and pink grapefruit juices, as well as excellent tropical nectars of mango, guava, pineapple, orange, grapefruit and their combination with banana, packed in Tetra Pack format, also enhance the export portfolio. Fruit preserves are part of the products that are sold in the domestic market and to Cuba’s entire hotel network, through the sales branches, using transportation from the same enterprise, which guarantees delivery on time. Founded in 1967, it already has more than 35,000 cultivable hectares where citrus and

fresh mango represent the majority of the plantations. A fruit processing industry, two processing plants, its own cold store located in the Port of Matanzas (96 km from the Enterprise) with storage capacity (including freezing and conservation) for 5,000 tons with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and certifications according to the ISO 9001: 2015 standard, contribute to guaranteeing the quality and traceability of the productions. More than 50 years exporting to the European market, in addition to experience with other destinations such as Canada, support the productive and commercial activity of the Victoria de Girón Agribusiness Enterprise, located in Jagüey Grande, Matanzas province, just 191 km from the Mariel Container Terminal, 160 km from Havana’s José Martí International Airport and 120 km from Varadero’s Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport. CONTACTS San José Factory, Torriente, Jagüey Grande Matanzas, Cuba director@citrovg.cu dir.comext@imporvg.cu Telephones: +53 45 986315 / +53 5209 6101 artistic rock that had nothing to do with the essences of U.S. rock. If for the average Cuban to mention Led Zeppelin was to talk about something as great as The Beatles, saying Pink Floyd is the prelude to a deep introspection on those cult groups that make up the Temple of the Gods of British rock. To speak of records such as Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, is to refer to a vibrant popular music that, for its greater enjoyment, demands to be listened to with the same respect and attention as so-called classical music. The same happens with Jethro Tull, a British group that managed to fuse Saxon folklore with rock tones to recreate the so-called Art Rock. On the other hand, a cult British group for rock lovers in Cuba is Yes. Made up of virtuous instrumentalists who have consolidated the complexity of British rock in the upper echelons of the genre, we had the privilege of having one of its members perform in

our main theaters in 2005: keyboardist Rick Wakeman. I hope this tight synthesis on the footprint of British rock music in Cuba helps to understand that the existence of a statue of John Lennon in a park that bears his name, is not at all the pretext to attract tourists, but was erected in perpetual homage to one of the most relevant contemporary musicians. In the same way, the fact that the Yellow Submarine club was opened just meters from Lennon Park not only means the homage of Cuban rockers to the work of The Beatles, but to the entire enormous stylistic universe of rock, preferably British, with covers of classics that delight our visitors. I’m certain that not too far back in time, the Yellow Submarine will become for rock in Cuba what Ronnie Scott is for jazz in London, and along those lines we direct our efforts in the Best Cultural Center of Cuba, thus named by our clients.

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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF YUCATAN TOURISM DEVELOPMENT SECRETARIAT.

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Yucatán Among Best Places to Travel in 2021, Says Forbes Magazine

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ach year Forbes magazine recommends the 20 best places to travel for the coming year, for which it calls on renowned travel planners who report on the latest trends in the sector, as well as research tools. Thus, among the places to travel in 2021, it recommends visiting Mérida in Yucatán, which shares a recommendation with other destinations located in countries such as Kenya, Costa Rica, the British Virgin Islands, Paris, New Zealand, Slovenia, Egypt, the Tahiti Islands, Tunisia, Qatar, Rwanda, Turkey, among others; and at the local level with some beaches and colonial cities, the Secretary of Tourism Development reported. Mérida stands out for its offer of cultural and artistic attractions, a colonial historical center with European architectural influence and an outstanding French style admirable in the mansions along Paseo Montejo, the most important avenue in the city. The state of Yucatán and its capital have been awarded various prizes, including: Yucatán, “Best Marketing Strategy” for best destination brand promotion strategy, Angel of Tourism 2019; by Condé Nast Traveler in 2019 where it ranked second in the “Top 20 of the Best Cities in the World” outside the United Kingdom, and first in the “10 Best Small Cities in the World” outside the United States; in this same category for 2020 it ranked third. In addition, also in 2019, during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Yucatán obtained the “State of Peace Declaration” signed by the 30 prize winners in attendance and by the Permanent Secretariat of this Summit; the “Tourism Excellence Award” for the “YucaTanTurístico 360” tourist attraction strategy during FITUR; Chichén Itzá was recognized as “Best Archaeological Zone” by the magazine México Desconocido; and the Revista Latinoamericana Convenciones awarded it recognition for the quality of conventions as “Best City Destination” in 2019. Yucatán has also been recognized for its gastronomy and architecture, in which several of the restaurants and hotels have received national and international distinctions that have placed the state in a privileged position among travelers who take these details into account to visit a destination. Although the global health emergency is not over yet, much progress has been made in the implementation of health protocols that provide travelers with confidence. In the case of Yucatán, thanks to the joint work between the government and businesspeople, service providers have been trained according to the standards of the Certificate of Good Sanitary Practices of Yucatán, in addition to having the Safe Travel’s seal granted by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).


20 Years of Victories, Through the Mountains of My Cuba

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eir to centuries of tradition and based on respect for the environment, the Agroforestry Business Group manages the productions of the Cuban forest, guaranteeing its sustainability in obtaining authentic products such as coffee, cocoa, honeys, bee products and nutritional supplements, natural fibers, pine resin, charcoal, ornamental plants, tropical fruits, forest seeds, coconut and its derivatives. Created on July 17, 2000 as the Mountain Agriculture Business Group, the enterprise changed its name in 2015, as Higher Management Organization and acquired its current name.

The Group’s mission is to guide, coordinate, control and evaluate the technical-productive, economic, financial, commercial and human resources results, as well as to carry out the financial redistribution of the entities that comprise it, through the possibility of operating accounts in Cuban pesos and in foreign currency to exercise treasury work, as well as the necessary control over the different forms of production, contributing to the development of mountain communities. Marketed by the Agroforestry Business System, its wide-ranging product portfolio maintains its natural properties and the tropical flavors that define it, capable of satisfying the most demanding tastes.

CONTACTS MIGUEL ÁNGEL ARREGUI MARTÍNEZ President GAF Tel: (53) 78847342 / (53) 78847343 Email: spresidente@gaf.minag.cu ANA ISIS ZULUETA ACOSTA Director of Development GAF Tel: (53) 78847456 / (53) 78847457 Email: ddesarrollo@gaf.minag.cu Website: www.gaf.minag.cu Facebook: grupo empresarial agroforestal Twitter: @GAgroforestal Youtube: canalagroforestal

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◼◼ LESTER VILA PEREIRA

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Acosta New Art fr

PHOTO: © JOHAN PERSSON

he expressive versatility of the dancers and the quality of the repertoire of Acosta Danza, the company founded and directed five years ago by Cuban leading dancer Carlos Acosta, have attracted the attention of audiences and the specialized press from different parts of the world. Carlos Acosta is one of the most demanded names in international dance. For decades he was the leading dancer of London’s Royal Ballet; in 2020 he assumed the artistic direction of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Acosta Danza was his personal dream. He set out to create a company that would summarize his professional experience: from the perfect lines of academic dance and modern Cuban technique to the most contemporary impulses, also assuming folk dances, popular dances and urban expressions. Acosta Danza is supported by the Cuban Ministry of Culture and is co-produced by the Sadler’s Wells Theater in London, one of the most important stages in Europe, home to international dance. Renowned international choreographers have traveled to the Caribbean island to create contemporary dance shows inspired by Cuban culture. Personalities such as Goyo Montero, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ben Stevenson,

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PHOTO: © BUBY BODE

PHOTO: © ENRIQUE SMITH SOTO

PHOTO: © ENRIQUE SMITH SOTO

Danza: rom Cuba

Christopher Bruce, Saburo Teshigawara, Pontus Lidberg, Justin Peck, María Rovira, Rafael Bonachela, Juanjo Arqués, Juliano Nunes and Jorge Crecis have joined the creative work of Cubans Marianela Boán, Miguel Altunaga, Alexis Fernández “Maca” and Raúl Reinoso. The result is a proposal that does not leave viewers unmoved. In just five years the company has offered shows in theaters such as the Royal Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall and the Sadler’s Wells Theater in the UK; the National Theater of China and the New York City Center in the United States. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Mexico, Chile, Luxembourg, France and Spain have also known the art of the Cubans. Personalities like dancers Misty Copeland, Aurelie Dupond, Rafael Amargo, the also choreographer Benjamin Millepied; actresses Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and NBA athlete Jaylen Brown have visited the company’s Havana headquarters. In March 2019, the group had the honor of receiving in its headquarters Prince Charles of Wales, his wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, and the diplomatic delegation accompanying them. Acosta Danza is a reality that bets on the future. New projects are already being developed. This story is just beginning.

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World Tourism Organization... Calls for Sustainable Recovery of Sector

◼◼ PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ECOTUR S.A.

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s the industry’s governing body, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has led the industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in close collaboration with other United Nations agencies and international entities. Establishing coherent and harmonized travel protocols, implementing reinforced safety measures and ensuring the protection of jobs and livelihoods are the main ingredients necessary for the resumption of tourism, according to what was expressed at the sixth meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee led by the international organization, according to its official site www.unwto.org. “Strong coordination is needed to accelerate the lifting of travel restrictions in a safe and timely manner, to increase investment

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in systems that support safe travel, including testing on departure, and to sustain and support businesses and jobs. If we fail to address these three priorities, we will fail to restart tourism, and so fail to save millions of livelihoods,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. As a result of the meeting, it was agreed to create a new UNWTO Committee on Common Safety Protocols to increase confidence in international travel. Also, given the importance of people-focused recovery policies, the UNWTO announced plans for a new International Code for the Protection of Tourists, the first legal framework to protect their rights as consumers. The project joins other successful initiatives of the United Nations specialized agency as


a tracker of tourism recovery, the most complete color-coded mapping in the sector to date, the result of collaboration between international organizations and the private sector. Available free of charge, it covers key indicators of tourism’s performance by months, regions and subregions, allowing a real-time comparison of the sector’s recovery. In addition, a memorandum of understanding signed with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will allow the UNWTO to promote common objectives related to the sustainable and responsible growth of rural tourism. Collaboration will include the sharing of knowledge and resources. STRATEGIC ALLIANCES Several international entities are collaborating with the UNWTO in the recovery of the tourism sector. A memorandum of understanding signed with the International Air Transport Association will focus on boosting consumer confidence in travel, and making sustainability the cornerstone of recovery and future growth. Both entities will work to foster innovation and promote greater public-private collaboration. On the other hand, the alliance established with Eightfold.ai, based in California, will make it possible to connect workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with available jobs using artificial intelligence, which will benefit the 159 Member States of the UNWTO and its more than 500 Affiliate Members.

Likewise, the governing body of the global tourism industry signed an agreement with the Expedia Group that will be the basis for collaboration in various fields, with the aim of promoting recovery and making the sector more resilient and sustainable. The measures will focus on market intelligence, innovation, entrepreneurship, vocational education and consumer protection. 2020: YEAR OF RURAL TOURISM The UNWTO designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development with the aim of promoting the potential of tourism to create jobs in communities, as well as in the preservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, and in the slowdown of urban migration. The development of rural tourism also plays an important role in the recovery of the sector after the crisis caused by COVID-19. In order to help governments, the private sector and the international community to promote tourism in rural territories, the international organization designed a series of recommendations based on five guidelines: conceiving tourism as a strategic pillar of rural development policies; building a fair, inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector that favors the well-being of communities; promoting policies that encourage innovative solutions, technologies and digitization; developing products and integration into the value chain for an improved travel experience; and promoting sustainable practices in rural destinations.Â

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Jamaica Strengthens Its Tourism Industry ◼◼ P  HOTOS: COURTESY OF JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD

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amaica’s tourism industry is focusing on providing a seamless travel experience that allows visitors to enjoy the destination safely, with an offer that favors nature tourism, well-being and outdoor activities, according to the requirements of physical distancing and health safety, the Jamaica Tourist Board affirmed to TTC. Since the country closed its borders, the Jamaica Tourist Board has implemented creative digital marketing campaigns to inspire its audience. Now that the borders are open, they continue to create solid campaigns in correspondence with the pillars of the brand: music, cuisine, well-being, romance, adventure and nature; all this enhanced by the most important asset: its people. The “Discover Jamaica by Bike” initiative was recently launched, a cycling experience which will make its debut in the second quarter of 2021. While its current priority market is North America, Jamaica is ready to welcome visitors from Latin America. Additionally, it encourages residents to explore the destination. In order to connect travel wholesalers and operators around the world with the main suppliers of the national tourism product, the main event of the sector in the country, Jamaica Product Exchange, JAPEX, will be held November 9-10, this year virtually. A SAFE REOPENING During the months of the COVID-19 shutdown, the tourism workforce received certified training through an online program. Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett referred to the post-COVID traveler as Generation-C, in need of guarantees to assure them

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that their experiences abroad will improve their lives and will not put their health and that of their loved ones at risk. Measures were taken to guarantee the biosafety of citizens, international travelers, tourism workers and their families. In preparation for the reopening, the tourism authority worked closely with national and international organizations to identify best practices and safety mechanisms implemented in accommodations, means of transportation, beaches (public and private), destination marketing companies, attractions, bars, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and spas. A reopening was carried out in phases, in which two Resilient Corridors were implemented that covered a route between the cities of Negril (north), Port Antonio (east) and Clarendon (south coast). Standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include: increased physical distancing, use of masks in public places, disposal of shared or self-service items, installation of washing stations, hand sanitization, frequent cleaning, and contactless transactions based on technology. To enter the country, travelers must complete a Travel Authorization questionnaire and receive a certification before boarding a flight to Jamaica. Upon arrival, they must undergo a health checkup whose results will determine any tests or quarantine measures. Travelers coming from areas considered high risk (Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and the United States) must present to the airline before boarding, as well as upon arrival in Jamaica, a COVID-19 antigen test or negative PCR test from an accredited laboratory.

Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board.


New Air Connections in the Caribbean UNITED AIRLINES RESUMES FLIGHTS TO THE REGION This month the company will resume services to Antigua, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Nassau, Saint Lucia and Roatán, the Expreso newspaper reported. It will also bet on other beach destinations in Mexico. SUNWING RETURNS TO THE CARIBBEAN The Canadian airline resumes its operations to the region with departures from Toronto to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) on Fridays and Sundays; Montego Bay (Jamaica), Fridays and Saturdays; and to Cancun (Mexico) on Saturdays and Sundays, reportur.com.mx reported AMERICAN AIRLINES CONNECTS WITH VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES The airline will have two daily flights to St. Thomas from Charlotte; daily flights from Philadelphia; and Saturdays from Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth during the first half of November, followed by daily frequencies from both cities, Travel2Latam announced. St. Croix will also see an increase in the airline’s service with two daily flights from Miami. MANCHESTER TO VARADERO TUI UK is reiterating its commitment to the Cuba destination with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner flights on Sundays from Manchester, England, and on Thursdays from London, to Varadero beach resort, with capacity for 300 passengers. CONDOR RETURNS TO CUBA The German airline resumes long-distance flights to Cuba departing from the cities of Frankfurt and Düsseldorf to Varadero’s Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport.

AZUR AIR LINKS RUSSIA AND CUBA The Russian charter airline began operations to the beach resort of Cayo Coco on Wednesdays, and to the city of Santa Clara on Thursdays and Sundays, both locations in central Cuba. Flights depart from Russia’s Vnukovo International Airport with Boening 777-300ERs. PUNTA CANA LINKED TO MORE THAN 20 CITIES IN THE WORLD The Punta Cana International Airport is scheduled to receive 143 flights a week as of the current month until January 2, 2021, from about 25 airlines, mainly from the United States and Canada, arecoa.com reported. The flights scheduled for the winter season are from the airlines: Air Canada, Aerolineas Argenitnas, Air Transat, American Airlines, LAN, Southwest, United, Edelwiss, Wingo, Tui Airways, West Jet, Sunwing, Frontier, Jet Blue, Spirit, Delta, Air Europa, Evelop, British, Nordwind, Delta, Wamos, Sun Country, Condor and GOL.

VOLARIS REACTIVATES CONNECTIONS TO CENTRAL AMERICA Costa Rica’s flag carrier announced the restart of operations on November 23 with the beginning of the winter season. The company will reactivate connections to Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Mexico City and Cancun, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute reported. VACANCES AIR CANADA INCREASES FREQUENCIES TO CUBA The company incorporates trips once a week from Montreal

and Toronto to Varadero beach resort, to the north of the western province of Matanzas. The Canadian airline already connected these cities with equal frequency with Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey. DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN HAITI AND CUBA The Haitian airline Sunrise Airways announced the resumption of its commercial connections with Cuba, a daily service from Port-au-Prince to Santiago de Cuba and three times a week to Holguín, in the eastern region. The company plans to restart flights to Havana and Camagüey in December.

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Mónika Mesa “La Dama de Cuba” and Her Máquina Perfecta, Good Music

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ecognized as one of the most versatile interpreters of Cuban music, with a voice that makes her unique and a charisma that denotes authenticity, Mónika Mesa has managed to earn a place of honor in the sound scene at home and abroad. Together with her Máquina Perfecta –the only brass string orchestra in the country led by a woman, made up of three trombones, which gives it a special timbre– her music stands out for its Cuban style, the variety of genres, and the style of the arrangements by Joel Domínguez, the music producer and author of most of the songs. “Another characteristic that distinguishes what we do is that we care about the musical quality and that the lyrics carry a message, as well as keeping our most indigenous rhythms alive,” they stated in an interview with TTC. “I’m a faithful defender of our music,” says Mónika, “although from time to time we dare to do something new like some mergers of timba with flamenco that we did in La suerte es loca (their second album) where we recorded with the Spanish group Los Yaki.” Possessing a solid musical training, Mónika Mesa has a long history, whose greatest success has been her own group, La Máquina Perfecta, with which she has worked for a decade this 2020. The performance at the International Salsa Festival of Havana in February opened the celebrations that included a series of tours and concerts that they hope to resume soon.

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In addition, they are currently preparing their third album, with the Bis Music Record House, entitled Mujer que se respeta and which, they advanced, includes several surprises. Regarding the work with this record label, belonging to Promociones Artísticas y Literarias Artex S.A., Mónika highlights that it is a group of great professionals–of which they have been part since 2018–always looking for new ways to promote their music. And her music is no longer only from the Caribbean island where she was born, but from the world. Hence the nickname of La Dama de Cuba (The Lady from Cuba), with which she represents her land with great responsibility on international stages. “I feel very proud to be Cuban, to represent our country with dignity wherever I go and to be called that, because that forces me to grow every day, and of course I am a lady, a lady who has the good fortune of singing our music from Cuba or in other countries, who never forgets where she comes from and whose greatest joy is interacting with the public, which is who I work for, and who support me so much on this beautiful path; a lady who defends the values of Cuban women and humbly hopes to be their ambassador through our music. “We will continue to work very hard to try to reach the hearts of people around the world. I imagine this is the dream of any artist and ours as well.”  @monikamesaoficial  Mónika Mesa La Dama de Cuba


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Travel Trade Caribbean dedicates edition to the World Travel Market 2020 - 276  

Travel Trade Caribbean (TTC) presents a new edition that accompanies the London World Travel Market Fair WTM 2020, which will take place vir...

Travel Trade Caribbean dedicates edition to the World Travel Market 2020 - 276  

Travel Trade Caribbean (TTC) presents a new edition that accompanies the London World Travel Market Fair WTM 2020, which will take place vir...