FitCuba 2024, a promising tourism event

FitCuba 2024, a promising tourism event
Fecha de publicación: 
1 May 2024
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The 42nd edition of the FitCuba 2024 International Tourism Fair will soon take place at the Jardines del Rey venue in the northern key of the central province of Ciego de Avila, from May 2 to 5.

The main commercial exchange of the local tourism industry returns to that beautiful location after more than three decades of successful incursion in the sector and its agenda includes the promotion of the major destination: Cuba; initiate or finalize ongoing negotiations for the coming seasons and seek a closer approach to the Latin American and Caribbean markets.

Another key point of the meeting is to seek greater air connectivity so that the flow of travelers grows and the country can finally witness the take-off of the industry without chimneys in the current calendar.

According to the National Office of Statistics and Information (Onei by its Spanish acronym), up to March of this year, 809,238 tourists have arrived, a figure that represents 107.5 % of the figure registered in the same period of 2023, when 56,807 arrived.

Canada, with 399,272 international visitors; Russia (66,887); the United States (46,717); and Germany (22,097) are the countries with the highest number of arrivals, in addition to the Cuban community abroad, with 75,386, all in the first quarter of last year.

A more recent news, released on X by the Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos Garcia, said that Cuba attended to 1 million foreign visitors up to April 26, which confirms the optimism in the continuous increase of international arrivals in Cuba.

The venue of FitCuba 2024 scores as the fourth region of recreational development for its hotel capacity (behind Havana, Varadero and Holguin). Cayo Coco, along with its neighbors Guillermo and Paredon Grande, make up a triad of small paradisiacal islands, known by the generic name of Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens).

During the annual balance of the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur), its head, Juan Carlos Garcia Granda, confirmed that they intend to surpass the 3 million figure by December, reverse the deficiencies, offer higher quality products and services, and encourage demand.

"The projection for this year is to continue growing", said the source, who pointed out the statistics for the closing of 2023, with about 800,000 visitors more than in the previous stage.

In an appearance at the Mesa Redonda, the Minister stated that among the challenges that have affected the growth of this sector are the effects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government, as well as the inclusion of Cuba in the list of countries allegedly sponsoring terrorism, which has had serious consequences on the flow of collections and payments, and on access to bank loans.

The industry's aspirations go through the current situation of war -nothing covert- suffered by the nation with an increasingly tightened blockade, facing media intoxication and soft blows aimed at denigrating its image, which stands out for its natural goodness, security, political stability, citizen tranquility, skilled workforce and the warmth of the Cubans, ideal hosts par excellence.

Its ability to recover despite the stages of crisis makes the sector a lifeline that, despite not yet achieving the expected boom, is still the second largest contributor to the GDP and the third largest in terms of monetary revenues, only behind professional services and remittances.

The host destination of the tourist meeting can be reached by air, since it has an international airport in Cayo Coco itself, through its marinas and the 17-kilometer-long rocky path over the sea, with an incomparable view that connects the northern part of the island from the town of Turiguano to the south of the pole.

It exhibits a large hotel and extra-hotel infrastructure (its housing potential amounts to 33,000 rooms); at the same time, one of its essential challenges is the conservation of the environment of these islands, given its condition as a biodiversity reserve, considered unique in the Caribbean region.

More than 250 endemic and autochthonous species, including 28 varieties of reptiles and more than 200 species of birds, have been found in that area.

The Gran Marena Cayo Coco Hotel will host the activities of FitCuba and is getting ready for that event, with a particular focus on the nautical and extra-hotel areas, according to authorities of the field.

In the surroundings of the facility, the adjacent coastal dunes are being rehabilitated, an important task led by the Center for Environmental Engineering and Biodiversity (Ciba by its Spanish acronym), as part of the provision of scientific-technical services aimed at promoting their sustainable development.
During 2023, in turn, in the second most important sun and beach destination in the country (after Varadero), Ciba worked on the rescue of the vegetation cover in the mounds of Playa Pilar, declared since 2010 as a Protected Area with the category of Outstanding Natural Element. Located in "Guillermo", this is the largest dune system in the country and the insular Caribbean, with heights that vary between 13 and 16 meters above sea level.

The perception of the future development of Cuba's northern keys for tourism was one of the many accurate visions of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro. With the passage of time, reality has given full validity to that dream since the 1980s, which he followed closely as each of his personal achievements for the advancement of his homeland.

Now a landmark, Jardines del Rey is part of the Sabana-Camagüey archipelago, and its name comes from the Spanish explorer Diego Velazquez, who between 1513 and 1514 wanted to pay tribute to the monarch Ferdinand the Catholic. That overseas area was also immortalized by the US writer Ernest Hemingway in his book Islas en el Golfo (Islands in the Gulf).

Cuba's domain is made up of more than 4,000 islands and islets that surround the green cayman, which has become an outstanding destination for international tourism in spite of the continuous negative contexts derived from the universal and local economic crisis, the COVID-19 that paralyzed the world and the tightened imperial blockade, a vicious persecutor of the initiatives in favor of national tourism.

With diversified products for this industry, nowadays it is preferred for its sun and beach programs, at the head of other vacation modalities that include cultural tourism, events and conventions, health and quality of life, nautical, nature and, of course, its caymanias, among other offers.

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