Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cuba, the country that many people want to know

Granma International

Havana. May 10, 2006

Last year Cuba received 2,319, 334 visitors, the largest total to date. 26th International Tourism Fair underway

BY MARIAGNY TASET AGUILAR—Granma daily staff writer—

LAST year, Cuba welcomed 2,319, 334 foreign visitors, the highest annual figure to date, and which represents a growth of 13.2% in relation to 2004, affirmed Manuel Marrero Cruz, minister of tourism, during the opening of the 26th International Tourism Fair.

Marrero highlighted the implementation of innovative strategies as the principal reason for those results, as the period in question was difficult for world tourism. During the last five years, he noted, the crude propaganda campaign against the sector on the island has reached its peak and the tightening of the U.S. blockade provoked considerable losses in the economic order.

Nevertheless, he stated, “this year we are aspiring to welcome 2.5 million tourists and thus grow by 7.7% (to date the increase is at 3.3%). We reached the one-million figure on May 6, with a record of more than 66,900 visitors lodged per day.”

The minister likewise highlighted the termination of 1,500 hotel rooms and the upcoming handover of 3,000 renovated ones. More than 1,000 vehicles have been incorporated into the foreign transportation fleet and flights to various principal markets have been increased, as well as new promotion offices in Venezuela, China and Holland.

The new edition of the most important event in the Cuban tourism industry runs from May 9-12 in the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress in the capital. It is dedicated to China and Venezuela and includes meetings of hundreds of foreign specialists in the sphere, who will receive information on the latest innovations in the sector on the island.

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