Viajes Cuba is a business group that draws together several of the country’s principal travel agencies – Cubatur, Havanatur, Viajes Cubanacán and Ecotur, for specialized tourism -, with a vast experience in the assistance to national and international tourism and a very wide-ranging portfolio of products for different market segments.
Strategies have been designed for the high season that will contribute to a successful marketing of the destination. Its president, José Manuel Bisbé York, commented to TTC in relation to this.
What strategies have been designed for the marketing of the destination with a view to the high season?
The principal objective is the repositioning of our destination, which to a great extent suffered the impact of Hurricane Irma. Therefore, the first strategy we are applying is a strong communication campaign, telling the different markets that the Cuban tourist product has recovered and is even better than before, since we have had to renovate and make improvements in several installations.
In addition, the beaches are presenting a better state, an element of vital importance taking into account that the sun and beach modality is the fundamental offer of the Cuban tourist industry and the best positioned in the international markets.
In the second place, we are working on the destination’s safety, reaffirming that that it is one of its principal attributes, which was demonstrated during the passage of the hurricane with the visitors’ evacuation, relocation, repatriation without reporting any problem with the clients.
The third direction is the diversification of the tourist product. We are working strongly with the circuits, for which Cuba has well-conserved heritage cities, a sufficient network of highways, natural and cultural attractions, World Heritage Sites and a hospitable people.
Emphasis is also being made on events and incentives tourism for which we have conditions not just in Havana but also in Varadero, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba and other cities.
We are giving a boost to the nature, health and nautical offer and the cruise modality that this year is showing a considerable development, to the point that we should surpass the half million cruise passengers, a record figure for the sector.
Do you have any novelties to announce?
During this winter season we will introduce in the market new specialized tourist products like circuits in campers, scooters and bicycles and several traditional circuits have been redesigned by introducing new attributes. We will also increase the online sales through Cubatravel and other systems, in addition to new options that will be sold in the principal tourist destinations.
The summer stage recently concluded, in which the domestic market played a major role, how has this segment’s performance been during the year?
The domestic market has had a very good year. Based on previous experiences, before the start of the summer we focused on the redesign of products, the adjustment of the prices of some offers and the expansion of the outlets in order to bring closer the product to other territories and not concentrate only on the principal cities.
Those actions produced encouraging results expressed in a record growth for the period: during the months of July and August national tourism grew by 24% and at the close of September the segment registered an 18% hike.
What are the British market’s preferences in Cuba?
The British market’s preferences in Cuba cover three segments: the sun and beach stays, with a mean of 14 nights combined with excursions in the destination where they are staying as well as of long distances.
In the second place, they prefer the circuits with a high cultural, historic and natural component guided by several tour operators specializing in that modality that registers high levels of satisfaction.
They also carry out several cruise operations during the year. In this sense, it’s worthwhile highlighting the Thomson Dreams ship, with capacity for approximately 2,500 passengers.
At the same time, we are working with some incentive groups that are fundamentally concentrated in the regions of Havana, Varadero and Trinidad; scuba diving offers, on which we must work with more strength in the future.
Which are the principal tour operators in the United Kingdom that work the Cuba destination?
Among the most important we can mention Thomas Cook, Tui, The Holiday Place, Havanatur UK, Cuba Direct, Saga, Jules Verne and Explore.
Expectations for WTM 2017…
WTM is a fair that surpasses the British market, which is why, given our interest in repositioning the Cuban market, we will meet with British tour operators as well as with our principal Canadian, German, French, Latin American partners and from other parts of the world.
It is an opportunity to update them on the ongoing recovery of the Cuban tourist destinations and of the development plans, which currently cover more than 6,000 rooms in the investment process.
The event represents an excellent scenario to give a message of confidence, optimism and tranquility to all our clients and operators in relation to the state of the Cuban tourist product and its preparation for the high season.
Do you wish to add any other element?
I would like to add that the Viajes Cuba Business Group concentrates the attention of 90% of the British market in the country.
For the high season that has just started we have sufficient guides and support personnel to attend to our clients; transportation is guaranteed and the outlets are ready to offer a renovated product. We are sure that the results of the stage will be satisfactory and we will be able to recover the growth rates this market has registered.