Relevant Information on the Cuban Tourism
In the mid-1990s as a result of the problems generated by the collapse of the USSR, the Cuban government was forced to seek alternatives that would allow the country to resolve the economic crisis in which it was immersed. Tourism emerged as a viable alternative and then became a significant economic sector of the island. Cuban tourism began to appear in a relevant way in the development plan of the Cuban government and someone described it as the “heart of the economy.” In Havana considerable resources to the construction of new tourist facilities as well as the renovation and restoration of old historic buildings to use in the tourism sector were designated. It is estimated that about 1.7 million tourists visited Cuba in 2000, which generated 19,000 million in incomes. The hopes of the government with regard to the gradual growth of this sector were somewhat affected, among other things by the global economic crisis in 2001 and the adverse effects on the regional tourism after the terrorist events of September 11th. The statistics for 2001 show some significant growth in the total number of tourists and therefore almost no change in the gross income of the moment. Fortunately, this situation changed in the course of the decade and by 2008 the number of 2.3 million tourists was achieved. The construction of hotels and other tourist infrastructures in 2005 increased rapidly and the growth of tourist arrivals has remained stable. Cuba has become for Canadian tourists, the main destination after Western Europe. The number of visitors in 2008 got to 818,246 tourists. Other important markets are the Spanish, Italian and British. A relevant aspect for the Cuban tourism is the fact that in 2008 it was allowed the use of tourist facilities to Cuban citizens. The main destinations are: Old Havana, Varadero, Jardines del Rey and Guardalavaca.
The Cuban Tourism and its Most Important Businesses
The Ministry of Tourism (Mintur), state governing body of the Tourism System, is responsible for developing policy on Cuban tourism and monitoring its implementation in the various entities that directly manage the sector properties. Cuba also has a research center associated with this economic sector, which is located in the University of Havana it is the Faculty of Tourism. The country has also structured a system formed by hotel companies (Gran Caribe Habaguanex, Gaviota, Cubanacan) and outside of the hotels (Cubatur, Transtur, Turarte).