Tourism in Cuba - cuba holidays
It is to Christopher Columbus, despite of his conquest aims, which belongs the credit of Cuba's Discovery and of being the first person who promotes the European interest in knowing our country. He anticipated 500 years to concepts that are part of the marketing Cuban product, nowadays.
The famous phrase "This is the most beautiful land than human eyes have seen" ("esta es la tierra mas bella que ojos humanos han visto") that was stated by Columbus, has been shared by millions of tourists which have arrived to our island looking for Columbus impressions and that are still present in Cuba such as: the flora and fauna, the weather, the sea and beaches, the ports and of course, the most beautiful island.
Tourism in Cuba before the triumph of the Revolution
Since the first half of the XIX century, there were arriving to Cuban ports , mainly in Havana, some American vessel that brought travellers to Cuba with business , pleasure intentions or in order to recovery from an illness with "The tropic airs."
In the period of time from the year 1902 to 1958, the Tourism in Cuba was featured for being a city Tourism, with big hotels, casinos where gambling, drugs and prostitution used to rule. As well as, the formation of a mafia that in agreement with the epoch corrupted governments, controlled the tourist business and divided its great profits.
From the decade of 20's on, there was a strong development on the hotel industry, mainly on the capital of the Republic. In 1952, there were 29 hotels with 3000 rooms in Havana city; by the end of 1958 the figures reached the 4900 rooms, what represents the 63% of the grand total which was of 7728 of 125 hotels all around the country. The rest of the accommodations were in Varadero (700) with a 9% on the International, Oasis and Kawama Hotels and (2128) with a 9% in Soroa, Trinidad; Santiago de Cuba and other provinces of the country.
From its beginnings, tourism in Cuba, developed mainly in the capital city, was offered to the World as the most splendorous paradise of gambling, prostitution and drugs ruled by several mafia families such as: Amletto Battisti, Amadeo Barletta y Meyer Lansky making of Cuba one of the most important centres of international organized crime.
In addition, a great amount of bars and night clubs with all kind of services and an important group of "selected zones" were opened.
For the year 1958, there were planning a bigger expansion on the hotel industry that would include the construction of 50 big hotels from the shores of Jaimanitas to Varadero beach. The Montecarlo was the beginning of this huge project that would be built in the territory of what is today the Marina Hemingway. However, the triumph of the Cuban revolution stopped the big expansion plans of the Cuban mafia.
This was the situation of the tourism in Cuba before the triumph of the Revolution, the international tourism that travelled to the island was attracted not by the Cuban culture, history or nature but by the gambling, drugs and prostitution that could easily find here.
Tourism in Cuba after 1959
Since the triumph of the Revolution, the tourism is included inside the main programs of development and an ambitious investment plan started defining the tourism in Cuba as the most important source of income.
In 1959, several measures were taken regarding the Tourism in Cuba, an example of that is that all beaches were open to the public, the cultural, historical and natural tourism were taking into consideration, new laws for the foreign investment in Cuba are put into practice, The Mintur, Ministry of Tourism (Ministerio del Turismo) was created which was formed by several chains of Hotels and enterprises that provide services and support to the tourism.
Since the triumph of the Revolution, the Tourism in Cuba has increased its quality and quantity therefore, Cuba is considered one of the best destinations for tourists in the whole World. There have been some objectives that the Tourism in Cuba wants to reach in the future for example: to intensive the whole work on the development of tourist resorts, as well as to overpasses the figure of 5 millions of tourists in the period of time from the year 2000 to 2010 and to reach net income figure of 10 000 millions of dollars.
Since 1959, the amount of visitors and countries that annually travel to Cuba has increased. They mainly come from Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, France, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium among others. Besides, the number of tourist agencies that promote and sell the Cuban tourism such as: Viajes Cubanacan, Cubatur, Rumbos Cuba, Viajes Gran Caribe, Gaviota Tours, Sol y Son has also increased as well as the foreign tour operators that also promote it around the world, for instance, The Holiday Place, My Travel, Signature, Tours Mont – Royal just to say a few.
In Cuba we can get to the conclusion that the Cuban tourism belongs to everybody. As this industry is the main engine of the Cuban economy we have to work hardly in it. Regarding this topic, Franceso Frangialli, General Secretary of the Tourism World Organization, (Organizacion Mundial Del Turismo), TWO ,stated in Havana, December 18th, 1996: "This is a destination with a strong development potential. It has natural wealth, traditions, history, culture, which are main elements for the next year's tourists. Without resting importance to the traditional sun and beach vacation tourism that will keep its positions. It will be then, an increase on more dynamic modalities with a cultural, sportive, and economic and adventure dimension. If the nations and persons would not be different, there were not reasons for travelling in order to search new original experiences."
What does Tourism in Cuba offer?
Sun and Beach Holidays
There are two great demand tourist markets: Tourism based on tourist sites (peninsulas, mountains, beaches) and the tourism of general interest circuit.
The tourism of sun and beach is considered the most attracted. It annually represents the biggest total amount of the international tourist arrival figure, for example Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Turkey, representing 85% of Total Volume. The new tendency of the tourist destinations is to find exotic beaches vacations.
The tourist offer in Cuba of far way tourist sites is one of the main attractions for the foreign tourists that want to escape from the daily routine and to travel to quite and virgin beaches looking for relaxation and peace.
- Current tendencies of sun and beach tourism:
- Places of far way destinations.
- Specialized market segments.
- Combined vacations.
"All Inclusive" holiday centres
The "All Inclusive" system is where all the services are included in an advanced paid price.
This is one of the more successful segments on the tourist market. Word widely, offering a whole total of 450000 accommodations, the seven "All Inclusive" more important hotel chains are: Club Med, Allegro Resorts, Club Robinson, Super Clubs, Club International, Sandal and Club Aldiana.
On the Caribbean it is been a great success and it has created new tourist centres all around the world. Cuba is one of the most popular destinations on this modality. Nowadays, it has been diversify for singles, couples, and families and for health and beauty care and scuba diving.
The main customers are young people, couple without kids and families. At the beginning, Sandals has oriented its attention to couples however, nowadays its offers are to old clients and it has also created a Beachs tourist centre for families. The all inclusive far way destination market is popular among the couples without kids and the all inclusive in near destinations are prefer by families with parents between 35 and 48 years old.
The "All Inclusive" modality will keep increasing. At this moment, in Cuba more tourist centres of this type have been created in order to satisfy the most demanding tastes. In addition, it has been restructuring for attracting the different market segments attention. Nowadays, the "All Inclusive" hotels have developed creative a point of view while investing huge amounts of money in the quality of its services.
Weddings in Cuba and Honeymoon travel.
These trips are made in order to get married or after getting married, it is not only for the newly wed couple but also for the ones that travel with them because they want to be together on a short vacation. Getting married abroad has become an established market during this decade. The price of a weeding abroad is lower than the celebration in their country of origin.
Every day, the number of hotels that offer this service is increasing, as well as the number of couple that choose our country for getting married or for spending their honeymoon is also rising. In the United States and Europe the honey moon trip last 9 days however, the leisure ones last 5 days.
The main customers are from Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. Mainly on the United Kingdom there is a tendency of couples to celebrate their wedding abroad, I mean that 45% of the British couple get married overseas.
"All Inclusive "tourist centres are very popular for its wedding and Honey moon offer and the big All Inclusive operators on the Caribbean including Cuba have 23 centres were the demand is increasing every year.
Main customers are the couple without kids which ages are from 20 to 35 years and the customers that get married for a second time with an age range of 35 to 55. The income power of this kind of tourist is higher than the average tourist.
For the future perspectives, the weddings and Honey moon trips are going to increase on the Caribbean including Cuba, which is consider the ideal destination because of its quite environment that allow tourist to get to their wedding day without any worries. There are lots of web sites that offer this service in Cuba.
Active, sport holidays
It is considered the kind of tourism were tourist alone or in groups travel abroad in order to practice competitive, entertaining sports while temporarily living in different places of its common habitat. The mainly objective of the trip is to practice sports, or travelling for being witness of transcendental sports events such as: The Olympic Games, World Cups, among others.
In Cuba, there are several kinds of sport tourism for instance, Scuba diving, climbing, playing tennis, golf or baseball.
Scuba Diving Practice (water activities and diving)
This kind of tourism is practice by the tourist that travels in order to practice the scuba diving sport. This is related to the quality for the practice of this sport. This kind of tourism is not only limit to the scuba diving sport but also other water activities such as: snorkelling, walking on the sea bottoms and getting submarines tours.
Regarding Cuba, this segment has increased due to Cuba's natural conditions as well the great amount of International Diving Centres that have been opened.
The coral reefs are the main attraction. Among the most beautiful Cuban places for practicing this sport are: El Canto del Veril at Maria la Gorda, Pinar Del Rio, Colony in The Isle of Yoyth (Isla de la Juventud), Las Playitas and Faro de Luna in Cienfuegos and Playa Sirena in Cayo Largo del Sur just to mention some of them.
The costumers of this sport have enough incomes. They are mainly young and single (25 to 35 years old) professional and independent workers. A third of the scuba diving fans travel abroad to practice this sport and the ones that really love to scuba dive travel several times in the year. The mainly costumers are Italy, Germany, France and The United Kingdom.
This market segment have been threaten by the environmental damage that have been suffering the world and that affects the most important element for the scuba divers; the coral reefs. That is why they travel to Cuba because we take care of the conservation of our natural resources because of this our coral reefs are in perfect natural conditions.
This kind of travel are made by tourist who are generally but not necessary looking for practicing physic exercises, it usually takes place in remote and not explored sites. It is divides into Great Adventure tourism and Little Adventure tourism.
Great Adventure Holidays
This outdoor activity is considered to be unique and fascinating, it takes some kind of risk and it also demands certain skills and abilities in order to practice it. While camping or living in far way huts with just few facilities.
Little Adventure Holidays
It is as attractive as the great adventure Tourism; however, comfortable accommodations with breakfast in tourist centres and rural means of transportation are included. While you are enjoying of the Little Adventure Tourism you can practice cycling and birds watching.
The Adventure Tourism in Cuba is an important market segment that includes a great variety of activities from an on foot walk through the Cuban tropical forest to birds watching due to the huge amount of endemic birds that this Island has. The destination places of Cuba are blessed by its wonderful nature, nice weather, beautiful and rich flora and fauna that you can find all around the country.
The customers of the Adventure Tourism are mainly educated persons (around 40 years) that are at the top of their professional career and count with important income volume. Young people usually travel in an independent way as they do not like to travel in groups and sometimes the prices of the adventure trips exceed its budget.
Nature and Eco Holidays
The nature Tourism has a lot of different definitions: Adventure Tourism, Nature Tourism, Ecological tourism, scientific expeditions, cultural exchange, languages learning, cultural trips, trips to unexplored areas and safaris for discovering nature. The nature tourism society has defined it as the responsible tourism that keeps the natural places and look for the locals.
Nature Tourism is the segment of faster expansion on the travel sector all around the world, an example of this is that on the year 2006, 30 millions of tourist enjoy a nature vacations.
The most popular Cuban destinations among the tourist that travel to our island looking for Nature Tourism are: Jatibonico Ecological Reserve in Baracoa, Baconao Great Natural Reserve in Santiago de Cuba, Chorro de Maitia Indian Village in Holguin, "Desembarco del Granma" National Park in Granma, Medicinal waters Spa in Menendez in Las Tunas, Sierra de Cubitas in Camagüey, Jardines de Rey in Ciego de avila, Sierra del Escambray in Sancti Spiritus, Elguea Medicinal Water Spa in Villa Clara, Boca Ambuila in Cienfuegos, Cienaga de Zapata in Matanzas y Valle de Vinales in Pinar del Rio, just to mention some of them.
Cuba has an enormous potential for nature Tourism, eight sectors of the northern part of the country has been declare "protected area" including the biggest flamingos reserve of the Caribbean.
Several associations in the World including Cuban tour operators and the foreign ones that work with Cuba are creating a practice code to put in to practice by the nature tourism operators in order to protect the environment and where the product and services that are offered do not damage the natural resources.
Cultural Tourism includes all the activities and experiences where tourist can enjoy the local's way of living, its habitat, its customs and identity. According to The International Council of Monuments and Sites (Consejo Internacional de Monumentos y Sitios), the cultural tourism main objective is to discovery monuments and places of tourist interest.
The Cuban people way of being, its idiosyncrasies, its struggle for keeping its own identity are elements that make the Cuban Cultural tourism one of the main segments of this market.
The Cultural Tourism in Cuba is present everywhere because all art manifestations are practice in this island. Cuba has played an important role all around the world in the practice of all art manifestations such as: dancing, theatre, cinema, painting, among other.
The whole family is a customer of this kind of tourism, which is why, is so common to see how the amount of families that travels to Cuba looking for its history, traditions and culture is increasing.
The leisure industry is the fast-growing sector of the Cuban economy. Figures have increased according to the effort and work of the tourist sector workers. The foreign investment has contributed to the development of this sector of the Cuban economy.
Today, Cuba ranks among the Caribbean's top four destinations and some long-term estimates want to reach the 5millions of tourist arrival which is a much higher figure than the one the island nation banks on right now.
Business opportunities in this key sector of Cuba's economy based on hotel building has increased in the whole marketing spectrum, focusing chiefly on the island's top priority areas for tourist development: Havana, Varadero, Jardines del Rey, northern Camaguey and Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, the south central coastline and the Canarreos Archipelago.
Cuban Tourism Convention
As the leisure industry is by far the fastest-growing sector of the entire Cuban economy, it is annually held the Cuban Tourism Convention (Convencion Del Turismo en Cuba.) The objective of this event is to combine professional exchanges, specialized lectures, and the presentation of new products and the signing of collaboration agreements.
Some of the interesting topics dealt with in meetings among tour operators, travel agents, airlines and investors had to do with the branching process of tourist offers and higher occupancy rates during the course of low-peak seasons.
Most of participants pointed unanimously to both the quality and diversification shown by products marketed by Gran Caribe, Cubatur, Sol Melia, Cubanacan, Rumbos, Gaviota, Complejo Las Terrazas, among other firms.
Breaking into a brand-new format, this year's convention made plenty of room for negotiations and bilateral meetings that allowed the inking of major contracts, the bargaining of offers, and the assessment of joint marketing proposals between tour operators from different countries and Cuba-based companies.
Celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the first-ever tourist flight from Canada to Cuba, the participation of a major group of Brazilian tour operators, and the signing of different agreements were the achievements of this Convention. In addition, a significant number of masterful lectures were delivered within the framework of the meeting.
Among the most important Cuban enterprises that participate in this event were: Cubanacan, Palmares, Gaviota, Cubana airlines, Transtur, Gran Caribe, CIMEX and others. From the international site: The Holiday Place and Explore World Wide from Great Britain, Thomas Cook, FTI-TUI, Condor and Nautilus from Germany, Vacancies Air and Transac, Nalg Itours, Mont-Royal, from Canada, Iberia and Sol Melia from Spain, Copa from Panama, Air France, Club Med, Estancia, Cuba y Autrement from France.
The Holiday Place: The expert choice to get to know Cuba
Cuba as a tourist destination has much more to offer than just beautiful beaches and sunshine. For those willing to discover all of its richness, The Holiday Place exits. With 20 years of experience and 12 of then working directly with Cuba, The Holiday Place can easily satisfy all the needs of the most demanding customers.
For this team of experts on trips to the largest Caribbean island, showing Cuba's national heritage is a passion they pass on not only to their creative young staff – distinguishable for their exquisite knowledge on tourism, languages, culture and nature - but also to a number of prestigious collaborators from the most important cultural and educational institutions of the country.
The Holiday Place works day and night to create a-la-carte trips that can meet the expectations and budgets of the most demanding visitors in any of the different subjects their tours focus on; including tourism of city, sun and beach were weddings and honeymoon trips are included, and even, adventure and nature, education, art, architecture and also incentive and business trips.
Each and every adventure that The Holiday Place will help you to live is an invitation to free not only your body, but also your mind and your spirit. You will be surprised how so many activities can be dome with such affordable prices and this is thank to The Holidays Place, the tourist agency that mainly work with Cubana Airlines, a save and economic airline. The Holiday Place results reflect on its increasing and ambitious figures are proves of the quality and devotion they put in its work.
Since its foundation 20 years ago, The Holiday Place has kept its inicial philosophy: The total satisfaction of the customers. That is why you can go to its main office in Havana City on 808Bungalows of Comodoro Hotel, or to the rest of the office that are scattered around the country such as in Varadero Beach ore simply contact them by telephone or by their web site www.theholidayplace.co.uk and you will not regret because for The Holiday Place your needs are our priorities.
The Holiday Place offers you the opportunity to discover another Cuba in an ambience of friendship and responsibility. This is one of the reasons why the amount of people that have chosen The Holiday Place as their trip designer is increasing every day. For the year 2008, The Holiday Place staff estimates that will be 25 000 the number of tourist that thank to The Holiday Place will have the opportunity of discovery an island full of new attractions.
Cuba is waiting for you to know it. Discover it. The Holiday Place invites you to make your dreams come true. This way your experiences will go beyond the imaginable.
In the customers' that have travelled with The Holiday Place own words:
"Another excellent planning vacation, Cuba wonders surprises us every day even more. Thanks to The Holiday Place competent staff for being always available.
Looking forward next trip! "
-Young student group of Cambridge University, United Kingdom."Once again The Holiday Place has designed outstanding vacations for our family. Once again we are surprised by the richness of Cuba's art scenario today. Thanks for organizing another extremely demanding family trip because we all have different tastes and we all have been satisfied" Mother of a big family, from Liverpool, United Kingdom. "We will never thank you enough for a wonderful trip to Cuba.
Meeting with Alicia Alonso and the Cuban National Ballet Company was unforgettable!"
- Student of the Los Angeles Musical Centre, California. "This was the best trip I've ever been on. I have taken students to Latin America and Europe and this trip was better organized than any other country. I give The Holiday Place 10 points out of 10 points."
- Language Professor at Kitsilano Institute, Vancouver, Canada"I wanted to say a very big thank you to The Holiday Place team involved in our cycling expedition. The English gang wanted to say what a great trip it was, so well organised and with such friendly and motivational staff. Discovering Cuba has been one of the best experiences we ever lived, this island has a beautiful landscape and thanks to The Holidays Place we can admire it completely. We would like to do that next year, as Cuba it is a wonderful country. " - Director of Corporate Accounts, London, United Kingdom.