Culture and tourism are two fundamental links in Cuba both provide income to our country in the economic order, condition the flow of money and mobilize the social state in all its variants.
With diverse characteristics, tourism constitutes an iconic source of income to the economy of our society. It was implemented as one of the strategic safeguards of the revolutionary government to face the inclemency’s that the crisis of the 90s brought.
When in Cuba or any other country it is said Varadero, that name is immediately associated in the first place with a beautiful beach and secondly with tourism.
Luckily for people from Matanzas, the biggest tourist pole of sun and beach of the country is framed in our geography. Varadero undoubtedly constitutes a huge source of income compared to other sectors in the Athens of Cuba, also listed as a source of essential employment in our province, due to the amount of labor and human capital that a hotel business requires such an impact.
However, hotel tourism has nothing in common with city tourism. The hotel network has grown considerably in recent years and continues at an accelerated pace, due to the constant demand of tourists who select Varadero for an unforgettable vacation. At the same time, an extra hotel infrastructure has been developed that complements the offer and makes Varadero a spa town worthy of the best tourism.
Then, urban tourism is that developed in cities, mainly those that are World Heritage Sites. This variant of tourism in its greater portion attracts clients of considerable cultural level and purchasing power, it is the type of tourism that is most implemented in the world.
The fundamental motive of this kind of activity is to exploit cities rich in traditions, history and a vast cultural heritage. Where it is possible to understand that leisure tourism does not find a point of contact with city tourism, easy conclusions to obtain, according to the classification of some experts on the subject.
This type of tourism emphasizes those cultural aspects offered by a specific tourist destination, be it a small town, a city, a region or a country. In recent years it has gained some relevance in those areas that have been limited other types of tourism: sun and beach, sports, etc. This type of tourism requires historical-artistic resources for its development.
The 325th anniversary of Matanzas marked a milestone in many aspirations of the lovers of this city, in their longing for Matanzas (the city) to become a tourist destination of our country. But how to make Matanzas a tourist destination that attracts the visitor for its cultural values, stripped of the brightness of Varadero?
Carlos Telot González, artistic director of entertainment and animation consultant for the Meliá hotel chain pointed out that both are sectors that must remain balanced within society in order to be able to exploit them with wisdom, consequence and with the citizen responsibility that it requires.
Since the beginning of the year, the Tourism Fairs have been held in Matanzas as part of the supposed resuscitation project in the city. These fairs take place on Saturdays, twice a month and in a staggered manner. A whole musical-popular-danceable compendium takes place on the weekends mentioned in the main artery of the provincial capital: Medio Street.
The “fetecún” begins in the Vigía Square and extends across the street. I clarify: “fetecún”: meaning or slang used by Cubans to refer to a party where “the house was thrown out the window”.
“They are two different economic and social lines. The fact of having declared Matanzas as a tourist city, for the beautiful reconstruction of it, has as its main role to provide tourists everything that Matanzas has to offer, I do not think the correct idea is to bring what Varadero hotels offer. the streets of our city, the concept in this case is inverted and definitely controversial, “said Telot González.
These places are not prepared for popular festivals of this nature, especially because there was an investment process that was managed with total effort to recover the architectural heritage of a three-hundred-year-old city, of neo-colonial style, which we almost gave up for lost.
“The city is getting dirty, it is getting contaminated and disorganizing …, this kind of popular celebration, with the excitement it gives off, is not worthy of being performed in the historic center of a newly amended city,” added the chain’s animationMeliá. consultant.
The cultural policies that are carried out in Matanzas may well become the right arm of tourism development within the center. There are plenty of artistic proposals, as well as demonstrations: theatrical venues, concert halls, bookstores and libraries, and artists willing to collaborate.
We have a recently renovated Sauto Theater, which will be reopened soon and is an icon in the heritage culture worldwide. We have the rumba, the groups that bear the African cultures, the cabildos, the museums, the rivers, and we mainly want to continue reviving a sleepy city for years.
Rebeca Morales Estévez, member of the Provincial Party Bureau in Matanzas, explained that all the bases are not yet in place to declare Matanzas definitively as a “tourist destination city”. In order to achieve this chimera, the joint work of the authorities with the sectors that influence and possess a social implication in the territory is demanded, so that work will be fostered by dialogue with the institutions and the population, seeking the best decision for the future of our locality.
Although it is true that in our country an education for the culture of good taste is summoned, a gastronomic hotel festival is not the most competent way to revive the cultural slang in the center of a city.
These fairs could get their space in another point of this geography, not even trying to cut the tastes of those who find a better option in this type of celebrations, we must respect social diversity, tastes and educational levels.
If we have a square as central as Tennis, why not exploit it and turn it into a space in which this kind of celebrations come together, why do not we look for creative alternatives to avoid the strong tennis sun, like seats with umbrellas, tents for the population, something better that does not include destroying the neoclassical diamonds that we have in Matanzas.
Varadero and Matanzas would then be two different species in terms of diversifying tourism for all tastes, including encouraging and diversifying national tourism, why not?
The smoke of roast chicken, beer and the interference of other alcoholic beverages in a space where all kinds of social actors, including children, the indiscipline, the stunning street music and the coal that damages the original cobblestone placed by the slaves, do more of three hundred years will not be, with all certainty, the elements that declare Matanzas as a tourist destination in Cuba.
The values needed to deserve this award have long been seated in the historical essence of Matanzas as the Athens of Cuba.
“Lacking work in the map of the city, we are taking experiences from other cities in Cuba that already hold this award to achieve a similar organization and greater experience in this matter,” added the president.
Cultural tourism has become one of the most important industries worldwide, especially in developing countries there are huge expectations for what this market can contribute.