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Point of View. Travel to Cuba: Via Russia and Italy

Point of View. Travel to Cuba: Via Russia and Italy

Havana is celebrating its 500th anniversary in 2019. Photo: TTC

Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy

The successfully-concluded OTDYKH Expo in Russia saw the participation of Cuba as a country partner for this 2019 International Russian Travel Market.

Cuba brought a wave of joy and lightheartedness to the event as only the Cubans know how to do. They created an attractive show with traditional music, dance, cooking and cocktails, the tropical salsa, world-famous rhythm, colorful vibrant clothing, and delicious mojitos.

To celebrate the 20 years of participation at OTDYKH (present since 2001), this year Cuba paid tribute to the Russian tourist population for their loyalty to Cuba.

In 2018 it reached a record of 137,000 tourists marking a +30% increase compared to 2017 – a year in which Russian tourism in Cuba recorded a +70% increase over the previous year.

These encouraging statistics place the country among the top 10 markets loyal to Cuba. And it happens at a time when the number of visitors from European countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom have decreased by 10-13%.

Cuba is also experiencing a decline in tourism from the Americas, including Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. However, despite this downward trend, the Russian tourist market is constantly increasing. As forecasted, 150,000 Russian visitors made their way to Cuba by 2019.

In the role of 2019 Partner Country at the OTDYKH Leisure fair, Cuba has increased its position to include more co-exhibitors, increasing the potential of exchanges between Russian and Cuban travel and tourism operators.

“Cuba presents itself”

This is the theme that has been adopted for the re-launch on the Italian market. The promotional strategies of Cuba Tourism in Italy are strengthened by implementing initiatives that include meetings with Italian tour operators with the aim of reversing the recent negative sales trend of the destination. Among these initiatives are “The Roadshows.”

The meetings between Cuban and Italian tour operators planned for the period October 6-9, 2019 aim to update and train travel agents on the destination through short seminars on the services offered and characteristics of the main Cuban cities to consolidate the Cuba brand in the Italian market.

The meetings will be held in the cities of Rome, Salerno, Foggia, Pescara, and Rimini. Among the main objectives that the Cuban Ministry of Tourism aims to achieve is to consolidate the passenger quotas of the main Italian airlines that fly to the Isla Grande and above all instill new confidence in Italian tour operators, reversing the recent negative phenomenon.

The fourth stage of the roadshow in Rimini will coincide with the annual “TTG Travel Experience Mart” which will be held from October 9-11. Here, the Cuban delegation will be attendance led by the Tourism Councilor of the Cuban Embassy in Italy, Madelén Gonzalez-Pardo Sanchez, who declared: “We have chosen to confirm this year the theme ‘Cuba presents itself’ for several reasons.

“First of all it is an appreciated, recognized, and effective format, but above all it allows us to reach cities of Italy normally outside the main circuits of roadshow. The major hotel chains (Cubanacan, Gran Caribe, Islazul, Blue Diamond, Melia, Iberostar, and MGM Muthu Hotel), as well as the main Cuban operators (Cubatur, Havanatur, Paradiso, and San Cristobal), along with a selection of the main Italian tour operators specialized in the destination will be present at the Cuba stand.