Dare to live Cuba with Havanatur
International Tourism Publication founded in 1996 • Year XXIII • No. 292 • November 2023 • ISSN 1724-5370 • www.traveltradecaribbean.es WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS RECOGNIZES CUBA AS “LEADING CULTURAL DESTINATION OF THE CARIBBEAN” WOMEN AND TOURISM, ANOTHER KEY TO EQUALITY KEY FACTORS FOR MULTI-DESTINATION TOURISM IN THE POST-PANDEMIC CARIBBEAN
Caravan of British classic cars in Havana, Cuba. Photo: © Andro Liuben
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Dare to live Cuba with Havanatur
World Travel Awards recognizes Cuba as “Leading Cultural Destination of the Caribbean”
An Office to Preserve History
Santiago de Cuba and its tourist attractions
Meliá with a great desire to do and many projects in Cuba Dominican Republic becomes attractive destination for foreign investment
Women and tourism, another key to equality
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Key factors for Multi-destination Tourism in the Post-Pandemic Caribbean Iberostar Grand Trinidad, in the luxury of history Barbados: contrasts and surprises
Italian Mediterranean priority for MSC Cruises Cruise lines increase interest in Caribbean First city Royalton is in Havana
THE World Travel Market opens its doors to us again and TTC welcomes this new opportunity to show destinations, news and relevant data on tourism in Cuba, the Caribbean and all of Latin America. Professionals from the sector from all over the world converge in London; the best of the hospitality and travel industry is showcased, with tourism companies and suppliers showing the full range of their state-of-the-art attractions at the trade show. Experts assure that exposure and market growth opportunities for suppliers and buyers throughout the tourism value chain are maximized here. Its numerous networking events boost market potential and create fertile ground for business deals to flourish. For the Caribbean, WTM is also the space to present the wide range of unique experiences that European tourists can live in an environment of beaches, mountains, cultural circuits; with flavors, temperatures and personal exchanges that always lead to new sensations. This fair remains essential to position the tourism options of this region of the world in the European market, especially after the pandemic. In this scenario, a new edition of TTC is presented, with relevant topics related to digitalization, attracting travelers, investments, air and maritime connections and other topics that are today part of the content agenda of the World Tourism Organization. We invite you to follow our printed pages and also visit us on Travel Trade Caribbean’s digital platforms.
Costa Rica, a charming tourist destination on the rise
Alfredo Rodríguez, General Director Travel Trade Caribbean
TTC TRAVEL TRADE CARIBBEAN S.R.L. Vía Armando Díaz, 10 Gioia del Colle, Bari, Italia email@example.com www.traveltradecaribbean.es General Director Alfredo Rodríguez • Cuba Director Mario Ramos • Editor-in-chief and Correspondent Daily Pérez Guillén Director of Technology Hairo Rodríguez • Marketing Alina Pérez • Graphic Design Andro Liuben / Dania Hijuelo Web Editor • Rachell Cowan • Webmaster Nelson Sánchez • Social Media Manager Yoanna Cervera • English Version Mercedes Guillot Accounting Yadira Mesa • Collaborators Amy Cruz / Julio Ginarte / Rafael Mateo / Leidy Velázquez • Cover Photo © Andro Liuben Iscritto al Tribunale di Milano con il numero 166. Proprietà di Travel Trade Caribbean S.R.L. Data di registro nella Camera di Commercio: 01.08.2001. Iscritto al ROC Italia (Registro di Operatori della Comunicazione). Vietata la riproduzione parziale o totale degli articoli senza l’autorizzazione espressa dei suoi autori, i quali conservano tutti i diritti legali e sono responsabili del contenuto degli stessi.
◼ DAILY PÉREZ GUILLÉN ◼ PHOTOS: RAÚL ABREU AND HAVANATUR
he International Group of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies celebrated its 45 years with Megafam 2023. More than 400 travel agents from various countries, airlines and the press from different regions of the world toured the east of the country together with the only 100% Cuban tour operator. The organizers of the great event that presents Cuba as a unique and different destination, took the meeting for the first time to the eastern provinces of the Caribbean nation — previous editions had been held in Varadero, the destination’s main consolidated market for sun and beach tourism. In an interview with the Latin American news agency Prensa Latina, Yoelkis Salazar Rivery, general director of Havanatur S.A., explained that the creation of different agencies with autonomy and a single objective, to expand in the commercialization of tourism as a basic line for the Cuban economy since
Dare to live Cuba with Havanatur
years of uninterrupted work have consolidated the Havanatur Viajes brand and customer loyalty as part of the actions aimed at establishing its position within the MICE segment and commercial arm of the tour operation.” The portfolio of opportunities to visit Cuba includes fixed circuits, tailored programs, combined programs and a wide range of land excursions from all the country’s provinces. The agencies have designed their own circuit programs based on the interests of each market, Salazar Rivery said.
In 2023 “the Cuba specialist” launched its new campaign “Dare to Live it-Cuba awaits you.” The executive highlights that it has been “oriented on products and destinations in line with the new trends in global communication, under the country campaign developed by the Ministry of Tourism to show Cuba as unique. It is the first time that Havanatur has achieved a strategy of solid, group communication focused on digital platforms and mobile devices channeled at the impact of the message on different generational groups.”
its inception, made it necessary to create companies in the territory to guarantee all ground operations from abroad. “This duality has turned Havanatur into a recognized and very prestigious brand due to its strength in being a sender-receiver. We are focused on recovering the participation quotas at the group level regarding the arrivals of visitors to the destination that represented more than 20 percent of the total number of tourists to the island,” he said. Today the Group has eight territorial branches and more than 80 points of sale throughout the archipelago to provide assistance to its travelers and follow up each operation. As part of its functions, Havanatur is also responsible for representing Tour Operators and Travel Agents in the country. It also organizes important events, such as Habanos and the University Congress. In parallel, he leads the organization of trips abroad. “Fifteen
World Travel Awards recognizes Cuba as “Leading Cultural Destination of the Caribbean” ◼ YOANNA CERVERA
he largest of the Caribbean islands appears as a true stage throughout its geography showing the best of its traditions, its artistic manifestations and everything that identifies it. Arriving on Cuban land means connecting from your arrival and throughout your stay with an experience that, while captivating with its sun and beach attractions, connects with its people and especially with its culture. Marked by various influences, Cuba not only has cigars, coffee and rum, but also numerous tangible and intangible heritages that attract visitors with their essence, diversity and colors that discover the most authentic in each destination along the way, as stated on the website cuba. travel, one of the main promotion portals on digital platforms. From east to west there is a history that awaits and contrasts with the colonial and architectural beauty of cities such as Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba, Gibara, Bayamo, Camagüey, Trinidad, Matanzas, Havana, to mention some of the 15 that make up the Cuban network, where heritage is preserved and surprises in every detail discovered by those who venture. Many moments define part of the cultural life of the Caribbean island. All artistic manifestations are made visible through music, theater, film and ballet festivals. Music is especially felt everywhere, from the welcome at tourist facilities to the sound that accompanies the daily hustle and bustle. Traditional genres such as conga and rumba resonate in many spaces with the participa-
Rumba is a genre involving dance and music. Photo: © Kobby Dagan / 123RF
tion of local and national talents that span the musical and dance history of the nation. As if that were not enough, tourists also find courses to learn to dance and connect with that wide range of rhythms that range from son to salsa and transcend the country’s borders. With these precedents comes the news of the World Travel Awards 2023 award in the category of “Leading Cultural Destination of the Caribbean,” a fact it rejoices, especially when among the finalists for the award were also important leaders of the region such as Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Cuban Ministry of Tourism highlighted on the night of August 27 that the largest of the Caribbean islands was awarded for the third consecutive year in the contest that recognizes the best travel brands from throughout the Caribbean and America, in an edition that had its crowning moment at a gala held on the island of Saint Lucia, with the elegance and joy that characterizes the event. The World Travel Awards organizers collect feedback from numerous professionals, travelers and scholars of the leisure industry to award a result. Considered the Oscars of the sector, this year they celebrated their 30th anniversary and with them the recognition for the largest of the Caribbean islands as a Cultural Destination of the Caribbean. Actually, Cuba is much more than a tourist choice; it is a journey to the heart of a rich and diverse culture, a space to connect with an unmatched passion for music, dance, and much more.
Oficina del Conservador de la Ciudad de Santiago de Cuba
SANTA IFIGENIA HERITAGE CEMETERY A National Monument considered an open-sky museum, is the resting place of relevant political and sociocultural figures of Cu-
ba. The Honor Guard ceremony for the founders of the nation in an environment of solemnity highlights its attraction for visitors who come here with admiration and respect.
An Office to Preserve History
EL COBRE ASSOCIATIVE LANDSCAPE, A NATURAL SITE FOR VENERATION AND FAITH El Cobre, a National Monument, offers a religious magical sphere of high heritage value defined by three themes: mining, religion and slavery. The Cobre mountain range surrounds with its protective mantle the natural scenario for veneration and faith, liberation and deep roots.
A DIVE INTO HISTORY The underwater archaeological park in the Santiago de Cuba Bay holds a valuable submerged heritage, where the remains lie of the navy battle that put an end to the Spanish-Cuban-American war in the late 19th century. The shipwrecks this National Monument treasures makes it possible to have firsthand look at an indelible page of universal history and they are very attractive for scuba-diving lovers.
URBAN HISTORIC LANDSCAPE SANTIAGO DE CUBA Declared a National Monument in 1978, the historic center of Santiago de Cuba is the result of the evolution of five centuries of existence. Its identity came about from the combination of the colonial city, whose image essentially still lasts, with what has been incorporated throughout the 20th century in terms of architecture, urbanism and landscape. Santiago is a public and lively city where the material and the spiritual continuously dialogue.
COFFEE ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE Registered as a World Heritage Site, the Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in southeastern Cuba guards a relevant historical memory linked to the Coffee Route through the Americas. Two archaeological parks show on interpretative tours the imprint of important 19th century coffee plantations, and the cultural contribution of the area’s autochthonous population.
SAN PEDRO DE LA ROCA MORRO CASTLE Being a World Heritage Site is an endorsement for the tourist attractions of this construction, an exponent of Italian renaissance military architecture adapted to the Caribbean. Its singular formal characteristics and its privileged location at the entrance to the Santiago de Cuba Bay make this castle a natural lookout point of excellence. firstname.lastname@example.org
OMAR LÓPEZ RODRÍGUEZ, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF THE CONSERVATOR OF THE CITY OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA, SPEAKS WITH TTC
he Office of the Conservator of the City of Santiago de Cuba operates in an extensive territory that covers the nine municipalities of that eastern province, even though, due to its recognized exceptional heritage values, it pays special attention to the capital city and its surroundings. The diversity of the existing heritage configures a range of material and spiritual values; cultural landscapes, sites, environments, buildings and objects are added, where the set of works, ways of life — generators of a wide miscegenation — habits, customs, traditions, artistic manifestations, a whole arsenal of wide-ranging sociocultural and important processes are expressed. Santiago de Cuba shows a legacy of more than 500 years and constitutes a unique example of a Caribbean city that emerged in the 16th century as a consequence of the Hispanic presence in the “New World.” It forged its own physiognomy, rooted in the geography of the insular Caribbean, associated with the sea and mountains, with a rugged topog-
raphy that allowed it to appear as a labyrinthine and staggered city, full of natural lookout points and public and green spaces. Walking through its streets is an experience that is enriched by the diversity of environments, squares and parks, public buildings, streets, small streets and alleys, Cuban architecture with strong Moorish roots, neoclassical, eclectic, art deco and other modern styles that translate its own vision of shapes, lights and colors. This city had an important historical-cultural performance, which definitively marked the national future; in its streets, infinite pages of rebellion and love for the nation were written throughout time, becoming transcendent events that live in the memory of its people; this is why it is assumed as “The City of History” and was granted the special condition of being the only Hero City of the Republic of Cuba and the holder of the Antonio Maceo Order. On the other hand, its central location in the insular Caribbean made it a preferred destination for multiple migrations, which conditioned a continuous assimilation of influences that resulted in a popular Cuban culture highlighted in manifestations such as music, dance and others. Cradle of the Cuban bolero, of the ancestral trova and son, defenders of choral music, and the best traditions of African cabildos and carnival, Santia-
go is a creative musical city recognized by UNESCO. Santiago’s heritage has three components of world heritage, and more than 50 national monuments. Santiago de Cuba is a possible Mecca of national tourism, every Cuban at some point in their life feels the spiritual need to approach the city of Heredia and Maceo, the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, in its capacity as Altar of the Homeland, the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the most Caribbean city in Cuba, where Cuban music was born and where the most participatory carnival in the country takes place. Santiago de Cuba is betting on and promoting tourism at an international and national level aimed at developing a widerange offer based on the conceptualization of an overall vision that integrates the cultural, spiritual and material values of the city. This is how the vision and management of cultural landscapes is related to the concept “the city of six landscapes”: the historical urban, the fortified, the funerary, the underwater, the archaeological coffee plantation, and the associative (mining-slavery-religion); all with enough attractions to motivate an unforgettable stay, of knowledge, learning and enjoyment. This set of landscapes traces tourist routes that ensure penetrating the heritage values of deep Cuba and the intimacy of the insular Caribbean.
PHOTO: © MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF CUBA / MINTUR
Santiago de Cuba and its tourist attractions
The new INNSiDE Habana Catedral hotel invites to wake up with the best views of Old Havana. Photo: © Courtesy of Meliá Cuba
Meliá with a great desire to do and many projects in Cuba 12ttc
◼ DAILY PÉREZ GUILLÉN
e have to do more than ever after these two very difficult years of the pandemic,” Gabriel Escarrer, vice president and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, said referring to Cuba when offering statements to the press during the Havana Tourism Fair last May.
“With great a desire to do and with many projects,” the company is taking that path if the news it shares on its digital platforms and in exchanges with the press are taken into account. Meliá promotes the Caribbean destination through an invitation to live experiences. “Everything that the Cuban people offer is something unique,” a perception of Escarrer and the communication team that makes visible the company’s commitment to quality and to improve what it offers in each of its facilities on the archipelago. From its blog, they already announce the services of the new INNSiDE Habana Catedral, located a few steps from the homonymous square and the monumental baroque church that gives its name to the site. Meliá invites you to wake up with views of the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro or La Cabaña fortress and to have breakfast looking at the sea, feeling from its center the heartbeats of the historic heritage city. In another entry on the same page, Andalusia is evoked from one of the city’s iconic hotels, now with the name Sevilla Habana Affiliated by Meliá. 178 rooms will soon be integrated into the constellation of its hotels in Cuba, as an option for travelers who love history and traditions. Opened in 1908, this accommodation was the venue for Al Capone’s private conversations in his room on the 6th floor and a site for Enrico Caruso’s inspiration prior to his performances in the capital in 1920. But the company is growing beyond the historic center of Havana. A video published on its Facebook profile reflects the soul of Trinidad, a destination where sun, beach, nature, culture, history converge and where Meliá shows off one of its top accommodations in Cuba. The Meliá Trinidad Península is presented by the chain’s official website as an “idyllic hotel” to discover the charms of that heritage city. In one of the most beautiful regions of the country, the Spanish chain will have a modern 5-star facility for the start of the high season, located facing the sea and with spectacular views of the waters of the Caribbean and the Escambray mountains. From the warm water of the ocean, the swim-up and infinity pools; the varied gastronomic offer in seven restaurants and bars; to the entertainment options and specialized programs for romantic, circuit and business trips, the Meliá Trinidad Península stands out in the Cuban hotel industry for its self-sufficient capacity. According to its general manager, Juan Pereira, the facility will be a benchmark for respect for the environment, as it will produce its own electricity from 1,500 photovoltaic panels and will have another 250 to guarantee hot water. It also has a cistern to collect rainwater from the roofs that will be used for irrigation in the green areas. Each of the 401 rooms has an automated system to regulate the temperature. “This is
Sevilla Habana Affiliated by Meliá, for the love of history and traditions. Photo: © Courtesy of Meliá Cuba
The Meliá Trinidad Península is an “idyllic hotel”. Photo: © Courtesy of Meliá Cuba
vital for energy savings, because if a client goes out and leaves the air conditioning on, it will turn off after two hours. Likewise, when checking in, the room air-conditioning system will be turned on so that when guests arrive they feel a pleasant temperature,” the executive explained to the press during a tour of the hotel. Located 10 km from the city, this facility, the largest in size and comfort in the territory, will have its own means of transportation to offer excursion programs to the nearby town,
the Valle de los Ingenios and the mountains. For Gabriel Escarrer, the future of Meliá in Cuba is very hopeful. This is how he reaffirmed it last August: “We have no doubt that Cuba will once again recover its pre-crisis levels and will be in better conditions than ever. Therefore, it is essential for us to continue improving our portfolio of hotels on the island, promoting new quality experiences in accordance with increasingly demanding guests.” Judging by the company’s investments, that’s how it will be.
Dominican Republic becomes attractive destination for foreign investment
he Dominican Republic led Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows in Central America and the Caribbean in 2022, for an amount of more than four billion dollars. This is confirmed by the 2023 World Investment report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report also states that Santo Domingo stimulated the expansion of capital placement in the Caribbean and attracted 44% of FDI. Regarding the behavior of this variable in
The report also states that Santo Domingo stimulated the expansion of capital placement in the Caribbean. Photo: Dangelie Perez / Pexels
that country, in the first quarter of the year, its Central Bank indicated that they exceeded those achieved in the same period of 2022 by seven percent. The most attractive sectors for investment were tourism and services, which represented 54% of the total, and natural resources, with a growth of 79% compared to 2021. Meanwhile, the energy transition is seen as an opportunity for the productive development of the Caribbean region. The main in-
vestment partners are the United States, Spain and Canada, in that order. For its part, the Export and Investment Center of that country (ProDominicana) recognizes the Piñero Group (Spain) as one of the foreign capital companies that contribute the most to the national economy. That company’s planned investments for this year stands at 70 million dollars (63.5 million euros). FDI is one of the main sources of foreign exchange, jobs and a revitalizing tool for the Dominican economy.
◼ YOANNA CERVERA HERNÁNDEZ
n all regions of the world, women’s leadership at the highest level of tourism-related decision-making is the exception rather than the rule. The World Tourism Organization pays attention to the issue; two extensive studies have already been carried out, one in 2010 and another in 2018. The report, the results of which are displayed on the UNWTO website and published on digital platforms in full, analyzes how the situation has evolved since the first study, expanding the geographical scope and the different branches of the tourism sector. In this sense, it points out that women play an important role in tourism in the four regions of the world. Overall, they represent the majority of workers in the sector, however, they are generally relegated to lower-level positions. Likewise, it points out that although women often own their own companies and tend to manage them as entrepreneurs, they are underrepresented in management positions. There is also a gender gap in this sense, since they earn less than men for equivalent work. The data analyzed for the report confirmed that 23% of tourism ministries in 2018 were led by women, a percentage that rose compared to 21% in 2010. The figure slightly exceeds that of ministers in general, which is at 20.7%. Women also play a prominent role in tourism as members of communities and
civil society, often spearheading initiatives to address inequalities. What is striking in these analyzes is the fact that countries with a woman minister of tourism achieve a higher rating in the political empowerment table of the global gender disparity index than those where a male figure performs (0.243 versus 0.206), further suggesting a strong correlation between gender-sensitive policies and women’s ability to thrive at work and in leadership positions. When looking at the Latin American and Caribbean region, the indicators also stand out. The percentage of women employed in tourism is 60%, using the accommodation and food services sector as a proxy indicator in the 31 countries in the region selected for inclusion in the report. However, the literature on the subject shows that women’s empowerment through tourism occurs more frequently among women who are self-employed than among those who work for companies. Hence, the informal sector plays an important role for women’s work. Tourism in the region has traditionally employed a significant number of female workers, more than other economic sectors, but many of them have not been adequately remunerated and their conditions have sometimes been worse than those of women working in the informal sector.
It might seem then that public sector tourism agents in Latin America and the Caribbean understand the importance of integrating gender equality in tourism. However, they tend to focus exclusively on food and accommodation, an industry considered “representative” of the tourism sector as a whole, and most likely to employ them. In general, in the four regions of the world, women are the majority among employees in the tourism sector. However, in all of them they also tend to have low-level, low-paying jobs, which are at the base of the occupational pyramid. The feminization of low-skilled tourism work has negative consequences for women workers in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also for those in Europe, and especially for immigrant women. The case studies further suggest that all intersectional identities (ethnicity, race, economic context, nationality, immigration status, disability, age, sexuality, and other factors) intersect with gender to limit women’s opportunities on this occupational front. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental components of just and egalitarian societies. Tourism has proven capable of offering avenues for empowerment and change. But even so, initiatives by authorities and tourism agents are necessary to promote development based on commitment, will and action at all levels.
Women and tourism, another key to equality
Women are the majority among employees in the tourism sector worldwide. Photo: Antoni Shkraba / Pexels
Carretera de Siboney Km 10½, El Brujo, Santiago de Cuba Tel. +53 22 399445 • 22 399381 • 22 399336 • 22 399382 Email: email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
he COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on economies around the world, especially the travel and tourism sector. The Caribbean was one of the most affected, since for some countries tourism is their main sector. In 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, this sector represented 42% of total exports of goods and services in the region, according to ECLAC. In the Tourism Dependency Index prepared by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), several Caribbean countries are among the most dependent worldwide. For Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Mexican Caribbean, the sector is an important generator of foreign currency, employment and investment. Most countries in the region have recovered and are approaching pre-pandemic visitor numbers. Already in 2022, Mexico received 38.3 million and the DR, which sets records for visitors and income, reached 7.16 million. Others like Cuba are still far from their 2019 figures. But they all have options to continue growing in multi-destination tourism (MDT). The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has been promoting this travel option in Central America and the Caribbean. The Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and CELAC have pointed out the benefits for the region. At the bilateral level there are different agreements between countries to promote MDT. Cuba, DR, Central America and Mexico are some of the most active and also some of the small English-speaking islands. There are also multilateral initiatives that seek to facilitate travel, the free movement of people and intra- and extra-regional connectivity, such as the Single Market and Economy of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). However, all these actions focus fundamentally on integration and the movement of people. It is necessary to continue expanding these agreements and organizing effective actions at the regional level, since the progress of the MDT has been insufficient even though the results of 2023 are encouraging for take-off in the Caribbean. To achieve this there are four key commercial and operational factors. AIR CONNECTIVITY Luckily air travel to the region has been recovering. The International Airports Council for Latin America and the Caribbean presents passenger traffic data at the region’s airports compared to 2019 with an increase in June of this year of 6.3%, while during the first half the increase reached 4.1%.
Key factors for Tourism in the Caribbean
PHOTO: © BLUEORANGE STUDIO / 123RF
◼ JOSÉ ENRIQUE SALGADO FEBLES, PHD Professor, Faculty of Tourism University of Havana, Cuba
Puerto Rico stood out as the country with the most favorable results in proportional terms. Its airports registered an increase of 31% in June and 29.4% in the first half. Mexico and the Dominican Republic stood out by presenting, respectively, in June 2023, a growth of 12.2% and 16.6%, and in the first half of the year, an increase in passenger flow of 18.8% and 12.2%. Even Cuba showed increases compared to 2022, although insufficient. On the other hand, low-cost airlines on intra-regional flights have allowed a greater flow, facilitating the transportation of tourists and businesspeople, not only from the United States and Europe, but also intra-regionally. In the Caribbean and Central America, only Puerto Rico exceeds a level of 50% of lowcost seats. Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti remain above 40%. CRUISES Cruise trips are one of the main modalities of international multi-destination. Most cruise
ships, even river cruises, call at ports in more than one country. A smaller part is concentrated in ports of a single nation. The Caribbean + Bahamas have increased their weight in the global movement of cruise passengers from before the pandemic, up to 40% of passengers worldwide, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), boosted above all by the U.S. market which concentrates the main companies in the world and perhaps the most recovered worldwide. From 2022 to August 2023, cruise capacity in the Caribbean has grown 11.2% and is expected to exceed what was achieved in 2019 by 6.8%, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). Actually here the reaction has been mainly from the big lines, not so much from the multi-destination negotiation between the countries of the region. This year, cruise arrivals to the Caribbean have skyrocketed on 37 lines (4 more than pre-Covid). The trend continues at least until 2025. New lines have joined the traditional
Benefits of MDT for the CARIBBEAN REGION
A single destination is the main attraction. The country brand is the one that is strengthened
The promotion of multi-destination is a key element. The CARIBBEAN Brand is strengthened, along with that of each country.
Traditional routes of market access and promotion among potential visitors
Access to a broader market and an opportunity to increase the number of visitors, taking advantage of an extensive regional promotional effort and greater number of partners.
The country’s benefits derive solely and directly from its own efforts
Each country benefits from the synergy between all and the experiences at the regional level and the opportunity to expand participation in tourism and distribute the benefits of tourism on a regional scale.
The emphasis is on the promotion and development of the image of the Country/Destination
Strengthens the image and regional attractiveness by showing the diversity of the region and a greater number of attractions.
The country or destination is promoted The region is promoted as a destination, taking advantage of and adding everyone’s individually, often only as Sun and Beach. potential, beyond Sun and Beach, as a cultural destination, adventures, events, etc. Table 1. Comparison of Benefits of Single-Destination Tourism vs. Multi-Destination.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Scenic and MSC to reach the growing number of customers who want to enjoy the sun, warmth and beauty of the Caribbean. What is pending is that the region, while enabling new terminals and improving existing ones, achieve better contracts with cruise lines, that they guarantee greater income while being more respectful of the environment. LAND CONNECTIVITY (LC) For MDT, the countries of the region must develop internal connectivity, with a land transportation network (buses, trains, taxis, car rentals) and roads that facilitate the movement of visitors, from airports and cruise terminals to cities and other destinations and areas of the country. Europe is an example with its connections and multimodality that allows air, train (even high-speed) and bus to be easily combined in carrier reservation systems and Global Distribution Systems (GDS), even through mobile applications.
For Mexico and Central America, land connectivity is also a facilitating factor for MD. + TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Multi-destination should be an effective and cost-effective tool to attract visitors to the Caribbean who might not otherwise consider visiting a single country, especially those from distant source markets who want to make the most of a long-distance trip by visiting renowned attractions of the same area. Image of the Multi-Destination Tourism Campaign “Come Live It” by CATA. The Central American Tourism Promotion Agency (CATA) recently launched a multi-destination campaign in six European countries, its second most important tourism market (14.8% of total travelers). The “Come live it” campaign on social networks seeks to help travelers get to know the destinations of Central America and the DR. Agreements between Cuba and the Dominican Republic with European issuers, Russia and China or Mexico with Japan can make
it easier for them to ensure that once these travelers arrive in those countries on long trips for a stay of 7, 10, or 15 days, it will not be difficult for them to dedicate a couple of days to discover another destination in the region in a way they can expand their enjoyment and knowledge. The same with cruise passengers who visit a certain port for a few hours are attracted by what they see and then decide to make a trip specifically to that single destination or to several neighboring ones, not by cruise but by another route and for a longer time. What remains then is to develop and promote tourist attractions beyond the traditional Sun and Beach, so that more tourists get off the cruise ships at the berths, take more excursions and increase the economic spillover. This will generate greater demand for tourism, both single and multi-destination, and negotiation en bloc with regional principles with airlines and cruise lines may be more effective.
Iberostar Grand luxury of history W
hen the light announces dawn behind the curtains of the glass windows of the Iberostar Grand Trinidad Hotel, the dome of the church on the corner of Parque Céspedes invites visitors to discover a colonial city. In keeping with the World Heritage status of the
town where it stands, this heritage accommodation is the only one of its kind in Cuba managed by the Majorcan chain. Trip Advisor’s review of the accommodation is accurate and true: “History and luxury in Trinidad make up the perfect combination for many people.… This charming hotel of-
fers elegant suites, gourmet cuisine, wonderful architecture and modern superior services.” Not only the recognition among the best of the best of the Travellers’ Choice: 2023 awards endorses it. The opinions that their guests leave on travel portals also count: “A
wonderful Hotel, where every detail is taken care of to the millimeter,” “The quality of the service was the best. They have excellent gastronomic offers,” “What I liked most was the kindness of all its workers who made the visit to the hotel better.” Luis Alberto Heras, current director of the accommodation, shares the satisfaction and pride of leading a group that has obtained such recognition within the Cuban hotel structure. “Our main market is European, depending on the month we receive guests from England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany. We are connected to a tourism that seeks to know history and experience the culture of the city.” The Iberostar Grand Trinidad Hotel treasures an unparalleled cultural heritage in the heart of one of the most enthralling cities in Cuba. Located in an emblematic building, recovered and restored by the Spanish company, it houses the first 5-star hotel with a 5-fork restaurant in the city. The interior design respects the innate elegance of the building. But its image is enriched with modern service and spacious rooms cared for in every detail. To the comfort and luxury, the design of Iberostar Cuba Hoteles & Resorts added charming spaces to store exceptional memories. In one of its corners, the Fumoir, visitors can enjoy the different aromas of Havana ci-
History and luxury in Trinidad make up the perfect combination for many people.… This charming hotel offers elegant suites, gourmet cuisine, wonderful architecture and modern superior services.”
gars. Beyond, the games room with options to share the pool table, cards or dominoes; another way to revive the customs of the colonial era. In the central patio, the vegetation brings the green and aroma of the species that grow in the nearby mountains. According to Heras, the stay in a hotel located in the middle of a destination where visitors’ stays predominate in circuit mode, is only 1.6 days, two at most. But during that time, Gran Trinidad’s gourmet offer focuses on the palate. Variety, quality and beauty on the table will accompany the memories of travelers as of then. Until very recently this was an adults-only facility, but it has expanded its offer to families with children. “We have connection with the different tourism agencies in the city. Through the Public Relations Department we offer guests information about all the activities that surround us: visits to the Valle de los Ingenios, Playa Ancón, tours of the city and its diverse cultural offers,” comments the general director. In search of expanding its services, Iberostar plans to include a swimming pool, a spa and a gym on the Grand Trinidad’s roof. Meanwhile, the elegance of a colonial building and the modernity of completely renovated spaces can be breathed behind its historic façade.
Trinidad, in the
Barbados: contrasts and surprises ◼ MARINA MENÉNDEZ ◼ PHOTOS: PIXABAY
arbados is not only an excellent place to enjoy the always blue, warm and placid waters of the Caribbean. This small island, which in 2021 proclaimed republican life and broke the political link with the British Commonwealth, preserves these traces in its cultural identity. That is why some called it “little England” sometimes and it is a museum in itself. The attire of its black women is surprising with hats in the style of the English monarchy for “special occasions,” and the chivalry of the soberly dapper men when they welcome you in any hotel is very European. Great Britain is also in the winding layout of the streets and the old buildings that can
be seen in Bridgetown, the capital. Because of these values, UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage Site in 2011, and considered it a well-preserved example of a British colonial city from the 17th to 19th centuries. This makes Barbados an ideal place for those who love delving into centuries of history. But also invites to other forms of recreation. The authentic Caribbean ease and joy of its festivities provoke dancing to the sound of the drums, and many succumb to the desire to taste its traditional rum. Its beaches number in dozens and have crystal-clear waters, because the island pre-
serves its nature with the same love that it takes care of its architecture, and is a leader in the search for sustainable tourism. Rare but at the same time wonderful species abound throughout the island, such as sea turtles, which are protected to prevent their extinction, and it is an adventure to participate in locating the nesting females, or in the rescue of the hatchlings. The coral reefs, which can be seen if you practice diving; the magnificent and exuberant vegetation completes a picture of contrasting nuances that make the island an attractive destination.
PHOTO: ВВЛАСЕНКО / WIKIMEDIA
Italian Mediterranean priority for MSC Cruises
SC cruise ships broke records this summer in Italy. A total of 63 stops in 15 Mediterranean ports were made by 250,000 cruise passengers in the month of August alone. The economic impact on the ports is estimated at 25 million euros. The statistics are obtained after the company placed Italy at the center of its strategic planning. The cities that benefited most from the tourist and economic boost generated by the arrival of MSC ships in the second half of August were Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo and Bari. Leonardo Massa, managing director of MSC Cruises, said it was “the result of the growth of our fleet, which this year has reached 22 ships in service.” The Mediterranean and Italy were thus confirmed as the undisputed protagonists of the summer. But the booking boom on the Mare Nostrum extends to all of 2023. “In fact, even for next autumn and winter, Italians are choos-
PHOTO: ALESSIO SBARBARO / WIKIMEDIA
ing our cruises that set sail for Mediterranean tourist destinations,” added Massa. He further noted that, “as a market leader, MSC Cruises takes the issue of sustainability very seriously with a program that has the goal of zero emissions by 2050.” Already today, the intensity of ship emissions has been reduced by 33.5% compared to 2008, with the aim of bringing this reduction to 40% by 2030, said the cruise company manager.
“It was the result made possible by MSC Cruises’ investments in the installation of ever-new technologies capable of reducing emissions and systems to optimize energy use,” he said. In 2023, the company has put into service two ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), considered the cleanest fossil fuel in the world available on a large scale. With information from ANSA LATINA
PHOTO: RITU JETHANI / 123RF
Cruise lines increase interest in Caribbean
◼ RACHELL COWAN CANINO
here’s an increasing number of cruise lines operating in the Caribbean. Until the end of the summer, 37 dockings were recorded, a statistic that exceeds the 33 ships that docked in ports in the area the previous year. Arrivals are expected to continue increasing from fall 2024 to spring 2025. Traditional companies such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Scenic and MSC have been joined by others such as Margaritaville at Sea, Virgin Voyages, Explora Journeys and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, in addition to Windstar Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Princess Cruises. According to Travel Weekly, from 2022 to 2023 so far, cruise ship capacity in the Caribbean grew 11.2%; while by the end of the year it is expected to exceed 2019 levels by 6.8%, as predicted by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). Adam Ceserano, president of that organization, pointed out that the Caribbean “is for
living experiences throughout the year.” For her part, Katina Athanasiou, senior vice president of sales and services at Celebrity, noted that they have seen greater demand in the Caribbean. Albino di Lorenzo, senior vice president of port operations and government relations for MSC Cruises of the United States, said many of his clients want the sun, warmth and beauty of the Caribbean and the Bahamas. On the other hand, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest in the sector, also believes there’s a boom in demand for this type of travel. The rapid increase in passenger flow in countries such as the United States or China will facilitate the rise of the sector in America and the Caribbean, the Technavio consulting firm considers. Among the key factors driving the growth of the global cruise tourism market, analysts highlight the strong global economic recovery and an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals.
According to Travel Weekly, from 2022 to 2023 so far, cruise ship capacity in the Caribbean grew 11.2%; while by the end of the year it is expected to exceed 2019 levels by 6.8%.
this contract. Currently, it makes 32 regular weekly flights to Lima, Caracas, Bogotá, Cartagena de Indias and Malabo. Julio Martínez Sola, president of Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas, has highlighted this alliance to reach other destinations in the summer of 2024. “The ACMI/CHARTER business line represents 25% of the company’s income and optimizes our entire fleet and crews.” Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas operates six aircraft, five A330s and one A340. By 2024, it plans to incorporate two new A330s and comply with its ecological transition plan.
New Air Connections
PHOTO: STELA DI / PIXABAY
TULUM: NEW AIRPORT TO BRING TOURISTS TO ALL MARKETS The tourism sector in Tulum, Mexico, is looking with hope to the inauguration of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto Airport and after a difficult summer, the destination is projecting a happier winter. In this sense, David Ortiz Mena, president of the Tulum Hotel Association, hopes that in the winter season they will recover and reach a more than 85% occupancy rate. As part of the infrastructure works being carried out in the south of Mexico, the construction of this facility has an investment of 3.2 billion pesos and must be completed in December 2023. According to estimates, in one year it will receive close to 6 million passengers and will carry out 32,000 air operations. The construction of this airport seeks to relieve the saturation of the Cancun international terminal and join the connections of the Mayan Train, which aims to create a mass transportation network throughout the southern area of Mexico.
PLUS ULTRA TO FLY TO CARIBBEAN WITH POLISH WHOLESALER The Spanish airline has been chosen among others that were bidding for this important contract with Rainbow, one of the main wholesalers in Poland. To comply with the agreement, an Airbus A330-200 plane will be based in the European country throughout this winter, to operate from the airports of Warsaw and Katowice to Isla Margarita, in Venezuela, and Varadero, in Cuba. The company has scheduled 132 flights during the season within the framework of
FLIGHT PRICES RISE 31.2% IN LAST TWO YEARS Mabrian, a leading tourism intelligence company, has analyzed in a new study the global evolution of average flight prices over the last two years. The results take into account monthly average prices from July 1, 2021, when there were still post-pandemic restrictions, until June 1, 2023. The analysis includes flights from up to 157 countries, direct inbound to destinations, one-way flights with taxes and fees included. The main conclusion is that prices have increased on average by 31% globally in the last 24 months. Conventional airlines’ prices have risen 40%, while low-cost airlines by 6%. Northern Europe, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, along with Asia, are the regions with the greatest increase in average prices. The strong impact on costs has been transferred to prices, as well as the inevitable effect of inflation. The main factor seems to be the accelerated increase in the price of oil during several periods and the forced change in operations during the pandemic. Other costs have also been affected, such as personnel costs.
First city Royalton is in Havana ROYALTON Habana, the most luxurious city hotel in the Caribbean, stands in the heart of Old Havana, the city’s historic center, a place where culture and tradition come together. It is the first city accommodation with the Royalton brand in the world and, at the same time, the latest acquisition on the island. One of the best sea views in all of Havana can be enjoyed from this luxurious facility that stands out for the originality and elegance in its modernist design. Next to the emblematic Paseo del Prado and the Castillo del Morro, the hotel is inserted between the buildings of Havana’s Malecón. Havana is a city of contrasts, and Royalton Habana captures that essence to become the perfect choice for the most avant-garde and daring luxury travelers who want to experi-
ence the unique fusion between the modern style offered by the hotel and the city’s own colonial charm. The accommodation has 250 fully equipped rooms and suites. In addition, it offers a spa, a gym, an infinity pool and a selection of luxury restaurants, including a buffet and an a la carte. It also has three bars, including a restaurant-bar on the ninth floor with an outdoor terrace and impressive panoramic views. Its two rooms for events and meetings: Malecón and Prado, are perfect for presentations, lectures and private dinners. The Café Lounge is a charming place, designed to savor delicious pastries and be captivated by the sensuality of artisanal chocolates and Cuban coffee. The aroma of authentic Cuba remains in the memory of visitors.
Royalton Habana also becomes the dream destination for travelers interested in discovering and enjoying the historical, social and cultural attractions of the Cuban capital due to its proximity to Old Havana, and the opportunity to visit sites of historical-cultural value such as the Havana Cathedral, the Plaza de Armas, the Plaza Vieja, the Parque Central or the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater. It also offers the possibility of taking guided tours of the Capitol with special discounts. Guests interested in getting to know the city will find countless museums, restaurants and art galleries nearby. The excellence of its services, the elegance and modernity of its facilities, as well as the beauty of its panoramic views distinguishes the Royalton Habana in the Cuban capital.
Costa Rica, a charming tourist destination on the rise
◼ RACHELL COWAN CANINO ◼ PHOTOS: PIXABAY
ropical forests, volcanoes, Caribbean and Pacific coasts and exotic biodiversity make the Central American country a good choice for traveling. The World Travel Awards 2023 confirm it: Costa Rica has been recognized as “Leading Destination 2023.” In the so-called “Oscars of Tourism” the Costa Rican Tourism Institute was also highlighted as the Best Ministry in the Mexico and Central America category. Both awards are a testimony to the commitment to excellence and sustainability that that country has developed in recent years. “This success is the merit of all those who contribute to making Costa Rica an exceptional destination! We will continue to raise the standard of Costa Rican tourism. Thank
you for being part of this achievement!” said William Rodríguez, head of the sector. For that nation, 2023 has been a year of good news with sustained growth in tourism. Compared to the previous year, international air arrivals recorded an impressive increase of 9.5% in August 2023. This rise is evident in practically all nationalities of special interest, with emphasis on Mexico and Spain. Meanwhile France continues to lead the European markets with a growth of 8.2%. As for South America, another issuing region with great potential for Costa Rica, significant growth can be seen in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile (over 40%), and an increase of 17% in Colombia. According to Wiliam Rodríguez, “if we compare these results with 2019, in general we continue to exceed visits by 0.7%.”
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