Cuba Tourism On Rise: Infrastructure Improving
An August 19th report from Cuba’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) demonstrates the rising popularity of Cuba as a travel and vacation destination. Cuba’s long standing but never achieved goal of having 3 million tourists in a given year appears to be in range this year. A number or important initiatives have contributed to the success.
During the first six months of 2014, 1,660,055 tourists arrived at the Caribbean’s largest island. That marks a 3.9 percent increase from 2013. Across the board increases were realized from important departure sites like Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. But, tourism originated in the US posted the strongest gains and continues to improve. Overall, tourists spend a hefty $1.7 billion on the island in the first three months of 2014.
Interestingly, Cuba does not count the millions of Cuban living in the US as tourists when they visit the island. With these visits included, more than 2,000,000 travelers arrived in Cuba between January and June.
The Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) indicates that 49.7 percent of tourists arriving in Cuba came from North America. 11 percent of travelers came from other Caribbean locations. Eastern Europe sent 10.6 percent of the tourists while Southern Europe accounted for 6.4 percent of the island’s guests.
181,269 Canadian visitors visited Cuba during the first six months of the year. An unexpected development gives testimony to Cuba’s appeal. Tourist trips from Israel, Sweden, Venezuela, Portugal, Poland and the Philippines all rose during the first half of the year.
Tourism infrastructure has been a longstanding challenge for the country. But Cuba has gradually built the hotel and room count on the island. With new hotels opening in Havana, Varadero Beach, Cayo Santa M, Jardines del Rey and Holguin, Cuba has added another layer of infrastructure.
One of the more visible new hotels on the island marks Portuguese hotel chain Pestana’s first venture to the Caribbean. The new hotel resort, Pestana Cayo Coco, was carefully planned to capitalize on one of the finest beaches Cuba has to offer. Guests to the region will now have 508 more rooms spread across several buildings and four pools to call home for their People-to-People stay or vacation getaway.
With four restaurants, four bars and appealing amenities like horseback riding, sailing and diving classes, guests can make full use of Cayo Coco’s dazzling environment. Wi-Fi and cable television and balconies in every room will prove popular with hotel guests. Indeed, there is a lot to like about Pestana’s newest four-star beach hotel.
Indications are good that Pestana will be constructing more hotels in Cuba in the immediate future. Such is the untapped tourist market potential at this Caribbean isle that outside hotel chains like Pestana are stepping up with significant tourist infrastructure investment. This is a sector of Cuba’s economy in which US hotel chain would like to have a presence.
Pestana’s management reports they are looking at investing in Havana and in other Cuba destinations. Pestana Cayo Coco looks like the first step in a new line of exciting hotels. Just one more reason why visiting Cuba now has such appeal. Beat the crowds! See Cuba the way you will never see it again. Arrange for a customized People-to-People Cuba tour today.
Need help with your Cuba hotel reservations or planning your P2P tour? Contact Dave or Yordi at Info@travelguidecuba.com to hear how they rate the best places to stay on Yordi’s native island.