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TTC Special: Asian tourists look to the Caribbean

TTC Special: Asian tourists look to the Caribbean

According to forecasts Cuba could receive in 2018 some 60,000 Chinese tourists. Photo: 123rf

By F. Martin

TTC Service.- Tourists from China and Japan are currently looking with greater interest to the Caribbean as a destination to spend a good holiday.

There are several islands that these Asian tourists select more often in the region including the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Last week Dominican Republic Tourism minister Francisco Javier García signed agreements with the Tokyo Mayor’s Tourism Development Office and with Japanese airlines, to attract tourists.

Garcia in a visits to Tokio this month discussed best practices in the administration of tourism in both countries.

The Dominican minister held another meeting with representatives of Kyoto Tourism Promotion Agency, where it was discussed collaboration on ways to promote tourism and best practices in that industry.

García invited Japanese technical team to visit the Tourism Ministry in the Dominican Republic and attend working meetings with its officials.

He met with representatives of Japanese airline ANA, to explore possible routes that the company All Nippon Airways can operate in the American continent.

“That meeting seeks to increase the air connectivity between Japan and the Dominican Republic and thus increase the number of Japanese visitors arriving on the coasts of the country and the exchange between both countries”,Garcia added.

As part of the effort to attract Asian tourism, Dominican Republica, well-known for its beautiful beaches, resorts and golfing, announced preparations to receive more Chinese tourists after the two countries established diplomatic relations.

The Caribbean nation officially disclosed that its tourism industry is looking for to get ready for receiving mass Chinese visitors.

The Dominican Republic and China announced on May 1 that the two sides established diplomatic relations after the Caribbean nation severed ties with Taiwan. The Dominican Republic said it recognizes and adheres to the one-China principle.

The Dominica Republic authorities has already discussed the possibility of forming an alliance with other Caribbean countries to allow Chinese tourists to visit several destinations in one tour package.

Minister Garcia said at that time to his Panamanian counterpart, Gustavo Him, that Chinese travellers on Air China flights between Beijing and Panama City, via Houston, could also visit the Dominican Republic.

Conversations were also opened with Chinese tour operators on receiving Chinese visitors, for example bringing tourists from China via flights from the United States.

Regarding Cuba as leading trade partner, China has become a key driver of tourism development in the Caribbean island nation. Experts said China is helping Cuba promote its tourism industry.

“Every day we want to use more Chinese products and technologies in the tourism sector,” Jose Daniel Alonso, director of development and investment at Cuba’s tourism ministry, told Xinhua in a recent interview

At local car rental agencies catering to foreign visitors, Chinese car brands of GAC Motor, Geely, BYD, BAIC and Maxus represent in Cuba 65 percent of the fleet.

Almost the entire fleet of buses of all dimensions are supplied by Chinese companies, mainly Yutong and King Long.

Beijing Enterprises and a Cuban firm are set to develop a big residential resort with a golf course east of Havana, in an area called Bellomonte. Construction works are expected to begin next year.

This project represents an investment of more than 500 million U.S. dollars.

Chinese travellers are also contributing a lot to Cuba’s tourism sector. The year 2017 saw a 17-percent increase in the number of Chinese visitors, over close to 40,000 arrivals in the year before.

According to forecasts Cuba could receive in 2018 some 60,000 Chinese tourists.