Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba

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Tourism blocked, but not defeated.

Tamara Caridad Mesa González 8 agosto, 2019

The last session of the National Assembly of People’s Power showed the hard impact that the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States and the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton extraterritorial law is having on the Cuban tourism industry.

According to the information offered by Manuel Marrero Cruz, head of the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR), the monetary impact amounts to a figure of 38 thousand 722 million 600 thousand USD, as a result of which Cuban tourism can only access 50 percent of travelers visitors from the Caribbean, a region where Cuba appears to be the only country in the world where Americans cannot travel freely as tourists.

The Island is also distinguished by the fact of competing in complex conditions, due to the acquisition of hotel products and supplies in latitudes as far away as Europe and Asia, the inaccessibility of major international advertising companies, two obstacles complicated by the existence of sustained anti-Cuban campaigns , aimed at discrediting the West Indian leisure industry and the limitation imposed on US citizens, who can only travel to Cuba under the 12 approved licenses and not as tourists.

Severe measures were added to the already convoluted scenario, put into effect on June 5, with an undeniable cost for tourism, among the six strategic sectors of the Cuban economy.

The serious incidence of the current attack is determined by the prohibition of travel to Cuba by private and corporate airplanes, and also by cruise ships, sailboats, fishing boats and other similar aircraft and boats.

The restrictions package also eliminates group-based “people-to-people” educational trips, a limitation that will affect an estimated 560 thousand Americans in the remainder of 2019.

In the opinion of MINTUR, the application of Title III is slowing the progress of business, as four lawsuits affecting six companies, including three Cuban and three foreign, have been received so far.

Despite the difficult panorama, MINTUR has designed actions to counteract the current situation, among which they classify alternatives to make trade policy more flexible and stimulate visitor flows from abroad, including resident Cubans.

From the 56 actions of the strategy  stand out those of communication on the Internet and on social networks, as well as those for strengthening online sales.

Increase the presence of national tourists in the hotels, visit of the MINTUR executives to the territories with the purpose of analyzing the income reserves that are not being used, promoting the use of local products to have greater sustainability and create productive chains, are among objectives to be specified.

All of this will have to be materialized in the shortest possible time to mitigate the effects of a commercial situation with a direct economic impact. So much so, that the month of May closed with satisfied income only 90.6 percent.

Despite this unfavorable behavior, MINTUR and its business system are convinced that the blockade damages but will not defeat a country like Cuba, abundant in attributes that differentiate it, such as the culture and hospitality of its people, from being the safest countries of the world and possess a rich cultural, heritage and historical legacy.

 

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