The President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy, joined by several members of CHTA’s executive committee and prominent regional hoteliers, visited Cuba for meetings with Cuban and international officials during the UNWTO and FITCuba events held in Havana between May 2-6.
Troubetzkoy applauded Cuba’s Minister of Tourism Manual Marrero Cruz, on his opening remarks for the FITCuba event, where he indicated that tourism is a key economic sector critical to Cuba’s socioeconomic development.
Marrero cited the range of tourism-related investments that are planned and the need for companies operating in Cuba to consistently provide quality services and authentic experiences while diversifying the tourism product, redefining Cuba’s marketing efforts, and reaching out to new markets.
Among the CHTA group’s meetings was one with Cuba’s Vice Minister of Tourism, Luis Miguel Diaz Sanchez, who expressed a strong desire to see the region cooperate in building a stronger Caribbean brand.
According to Díaz: “The Caribbean is one of the few remaining tourist regions where it is possible to develop tourism in a sustainable manner and to do this we must work together, in order to promote one Caribbean brand that is cheerful, festive and that will integrate us as part of the culture that we share, finding benefit in the arrival of tourists from around the world.
The best option is to do this together.” The Vice Minister’s assertion aligns with the longstanding position of the CHTA President who has been recognized throughout and beyond the Caribbean region for her strong focus on sustainable tourism development.
“Frankly, with all of the free and positive publicity that Cuba is receiving at the moment, we were pleased by their strong focus on both building a stronger Caribbean brand and ensuring that it is done in the most sustainable fashion.”
Troubetzkoy noted that the Cuban representatives expressed a desire to establish a Cuban hotel and tourism association and requested models from around the region to assist in developing the best organization for Cuba.
“Even though our trip was full of many important meetings and pleasant experiences, those observations and that specific request indicate progressive-minded regional leadership from Cuba.” The CHTA representatives and Cuban tourism leaders agreed that there is much to learn and gain by working together and will follow up on several priority items discussed during their meetings.
They also agreed that there are many investment, trade and collaboration opportunities for Caribbean hoteliers and investors in Cuba, and will look at ways to develop this. “The region has tremendous untapped potential to grow and develop tourism to the greater benefit of its people, Governments, and tourism stakeholders. To do this effectively will require an unprecedented level of commitment by the regions public and private sector leaders. In that regard, our delegation left Cuba encouraged by the destination’s focus and leadership,” stated Troubetzkoy.