CAYO COCO._ Canada will be the guest of honor at the 36th Cuban International Tourism Fair (FITCuba) in 2016.

At the closing of the recent FITCuba-2015, Maria del Carmen Orellana, the Ministry of Tourism’s commercial director, said that the choice reflected the recognition of Canada as the principal source of tourists for Cuba over past years, having sent a million visitors in 2014 alone.

Canada will be the guest of honor at the 36th Cuban International Tourism Fair (FITCuba) in 2016.The official added that next year Cuba’s greatest tourism event, to be held in Havana, will be dedicated to the promotion of Cuban culture.

In reference to the recently concluded fair, she said that it had exceeded all expectations as it counted with 1,800 participants from 53 countries.

She added that during the three working days – May 5th to 7th – in the Melia Jardines de Rey hotel, important contracts aimed at increasing the number of visitors and the opening of new hotels and other facilities were signed.

Minister for Tourism Manuel Marrero said at the opening of FITCuba2015 –dedicated to Italy and nautical activities – that the island currently finds itself in a prime moment as last year it has passed the three million incoming tourist record.

In his address to delegates, including 120 tour operators, travel agents, and business representatives from the U.S, Marrero commented that with the goal of surpassing the 5.3 percent increase in arrivals and the 2.7 billion dollars tourists spent that marked last year’s record, Cuba is working on 53 projects for the provision of an additional 5,492 four and five star hotel rooms.

The majority of these new hotels, built by joint venture firms, will be run by famous hotel chains such as the Spanish Iberostar and Melia that have been operating in Cuba for decades, in conjunction with Gaviota, Cubanacán and others Cuban businesses.

The 18 international foreign companies that presently have 35,682 rooms on offer – 57 percent of the country’s total – will very soon be joined by others from China, Colombia, Spain, France, Singapore, and Switzerland.

With 11,500 registered guest houses and more than 1,500 restaurants –known as “paladares” – the incipient Cuban private sector is becoming an increasingly important factor for tourism development in the country.

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