HAVANA – Business is booming in the hospitality sector in Cuba, with March ending with an increase of 14 percent in tourist arrivals.
Cuba’s first deputy tourism minister Alexis Trujillo described the current period as a “good trend” for the tourism sector with an expected 175,200 foreign vacationers more than the previous year.
Trujillo added that tourism reached a record high last year, finishing with over 3,524,000 vacationers visiting the Spanish-speaking nation, a figure that officials are looking to surpass this year.
He also indicated that there were several initiatives underway aimed at enhancing the tourism product, starting with the construction of new hotels and improved services.
Havana’s economic plan this year includes a 1.3 million peso investment, mostly aimed at increasing room capacity, according to tourism representatives.
New hotels are expected to add over 3,790 rooms, while another 5,677 will be upgraded, mainly in the most popular tourism centres in the country: Havana, Varadero and the keys to the north of the island.
In a move to further increase room capacity, the state has linked up with over 14,000 private homes offering lodging and food services.
Existing recreational facilities in the communist Caribbean country include three cruise terminals, seven international marinas and 39 international diving centres. Work is currently underway to improve the marine sector.
Cuba is connected with 60 cities worldwide via 54 international airlines that serve the main resorts, including Cayo Santa Maria, Jardines del Rey, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba.
The number of visitors to the island has increased dramatically since the announcement of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States in December 2014.
Officials estimate that 161,233 people from the US visited Cuba last year, an increase of 79 percent over the previous year.