Scheduled for May 3 to 7 in Havana, the 36th International Tourism Fair, FITCuba 2016, will be a very good opportunity for the Cuban Tourism Industry to strengthen the travel market and boost a sector that is this year likely to exceed the increase registered in 2014.

This year’s edition of the fair has invited Canada to be the guest of honor country, while Havana features as the largest destination and culture as the leading product.

Scheduled for May 3 to 7 in Havana, the 36th International Tourism Fair, FITCuba 2016, will be a very good opportunity for the Cuban Tourism Industry to strengthen the travel market and boost a sector that is this year likely to exceed the increase registered in 2014.The Morro-Cabaña complex will once again be the main venue for the event, which will largely show the achievements attained since the fair was held last year in Jardines del Rey, a group of keys on the northern-central coast of Cuba.

Tourism experts hope that FITCuba 2016 becomes the ideal meeting for signing letters of intent, promoting new projects and enhancing those being implemented, taking into consideration the facilities offered by the new foreign investment law.

THE CHALLENGE: TO BE MORE EFFICIENT

With plans to welcome more than 3.7 million foreign visitors in 2016, Cuba is faced with challenges and possibilities that may help it enhance its position as a Caribbean destination.

Placed third on the number of visitors to the Caribbean -after the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico-Cuba has the additional attraction now after Washington and Havana made an announcement on December 17, 2014 on their decision to reestablish relations.

Yet, its ever-growing attraction as a tourist destination and being able to enhance its position in the Caribbean will depend on the country’s ability to increase efficiency and identify difficulties, local analysts say.

Faced with the possibility that U.S. citizens will eventually be allowed to freely travel to Cuba, two crucial elements arise: accommodation and transport.

These two indicators already give a warning on the need to improve travel conditions and get ready to welcome the predicted increase in tourist arrivals, not only during the high season (November-April).

Sources from Cuba’s Tourism Ministry announced that more than 3,790 new rooms will be available with the opening of new hotels, while some 5 677 others have been either recovered or improved, mainly in the country’s largest tourist resorts: Havana, Varadero and the group of keys on the northern coast.

To further increase the number of accommodation, Cuba is fostering the alliance between the state-run offer and the private initiative, with more than 14,000 homestays now available offering both accommodation and food services.

In the meantime, local tourism authorities continue working to diversify the recreational choices other than the sun-beach modality, which has been the main tourist attraction forsome years now.

In 2015 Cuba welcomed 3,524,799 tourists, 531,054 more than in 2014,m accounting for a 10.7 percent rise in income. Of that total number of travelers, msome 145,000 were from the United States, representing a 79 percent increase compared to last year.

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