Venus Carrillo Ortega

Venus Carrillo Ortega

Tourism in Cuba, so far so good…

Tourism n Cuba is going like a dream. The figures already confirmed it. You only have to take a walk down any street in Havana to confirm the overwhelming amount of foreigners traveling to the island, a destination which, although far from what desired- makes its way among the most popular Caribbean tourist beds. After reaching the desired goal in 2014 of three million -record in international tourist arrivals to Cuba, initial reports of 2015 are equally encouraging for an industry that is positioned among the first sources of income for the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI by its Spanish acronym), 371 160 passengers reached the Antillean archipelago, in January, for a 16 percent growth when compared to the same period of 2014. The number of visitors in that month also exceeded the amount recorded last December, when 332 190 foreigners arrived. The headlines already make reference to it... Poles break record of visits, foreign chains redoubling their commitment to Cuba, new air operations, increasing arrival of cruises, crowded facilities; and the issue that sounds the most: US companies set their sights on the island. The American newspaper The New York Times also recommended...

Havana hosts International Tourism Fair

Havana took a special spot this Tuesday among Caribbean destinations, with the opening of the 34th International Tourism Fair, FITCUBA 2014, which attracted this time tour operators, businessmen, travel agents and journalists from at some 25 countries. The event, main of its kind on the island, will run until February 10 at the Morro Cabaña Historical Military Park, and as a guest nation of honor has France, an emitting market that in 2013 sent more than 96 thousand tourists. In the opening words, in the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Manuel Marrero Cruz, head of the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR), provided participants with details on the strategy that drives the sector to diversify the current offer, and thus position the destination among the international travelers’ preferences. “The Ministry of Tourism and its business system remain immersed in the improvement and updating of the Cuban tourist product, aware of the potential that the destination has, but also of its weaknesses," Marrero said, in the presence of Fleur Pellerin, Secretary of State for the Promotion of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and Caleb Rafai , secretary general of the World Tourism Organization. Despite the negative effects caused by factors such as the global...

Semester at Sea cruise back in Cuba

The 20- year-old Tessa Kroninger arrived for the first time in Cuba. The Psychology student at the University of North Carolina confesses her excitement to finally be in a country that has heard both. “It’s a dream, an amazing thing," she enthuses in good Spanish, inherited from her Colombian mother. She is part of the more than 600 students and teachers who arrived Monday in Havana harbor onboard the MV Explorer cruise, to continue the academic program Semester at Sea , sponsored since 1964 by the University of Virginia, Charlottesville , United States and administered by the Institute of Studies on Board . Restrictions imposed by the government of George W. Bush to travel to academic and cultural exchanges between the two countries prevented the visit to Cuba of the boat for nine years. Nearly three years had to wait for the government of President Barack Obama in June 2013 to approve the travel license for Americans that would visit the island Today, however, it returns to Havana full of young people eager to feel this piece of the Caribbean. They know little, but want to learn much of this nation, Marisol Botanes said upon her arrival, Cuban student who...

French tour operators are visiting Cuban tourist resorts

A group of tour operators and travel agents from France are visiting the main tourist destinations in Cuba, with a view to see what's new in this destination, considered among the most popular in the Caribbean. This mission takes place after the restarting of direct weekly flights of Cubana Airlines on the Paris -Santa Clara - Havana route (PAR- SNU- HAV), according to the Ministry of Tourism (Tourism) of the Island Visitors are carrying out, from Friday, an extensive program of exchange with authorities and experts in the provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Havana and the cities of Trinidad and Havana. Also they will have meetings with Cuban receptive agencies, hotel groups, Cubana de Aviacion airline and the Tourism Ministry, actions that will serve as a prelude to the next edition of the International Tourism Fair, dedicated to the European nation and circuits’ modality. According to the Ministry, the restarting of the PAR- SNU-HAV flight helps strengthen the product highly demanded by the French market, and promotes the influx of visitors to the Cuba destination, particularly to the north keys of Villa Clara. With a capacity for 257 passengers, including 17 seats in business class, the flights will continue...

Cuban cocktails: savoring Havana

Drinking an Old Fashion in the style of the '50s alongside other classic cocktails of the Cuban bar tradition refreshed with modern touches , was the attractive proposal that Saboreando lo cubano brought to present new trends of the global cocktail industry, in which Cuba needs to be inserted too . Almost closing its doors, the IV Rescue and Promotion of Culture Cuban Culinary included a keynote speech by Barbaro E. Vega , president of the Bartenders Association of Cuba ( ACC ) in Havana , who presented with great mastery the developments currently happening at bars and restaurants of the world. The perfection vintage cocktails, English name those preparations receive when they are aged in wooden barrels , are the supreme expression of what is happening in the most famous bars in cities like London, Paris , Moscow, New York , and even recently come to Cuba , where they have found the ideal partner in the famous Habanos. If in the traditional bar service , the client waits several minutes for a drink , to taste this elite innovation he should wait for 2-6 weeks, as it comes to achieving innovative blends of whiskey , vermouth , brandy...

Gastronomic meeting invites to taste Cuba

An appeal to save the memory of the island’s cuisine was the lecture given by Eusebio Leal Spengler, Historian of Havana, at the opening the IV Rescue and Promotion of Culinary Culture, Saborear lo cubano (Tasting the Cuban). Tough times led to a simplification in the cuisine of the Caribbean nation, which led to the neglect of the recipes of our grandmothers, which were very common in that time but today, they are almost impossible to find, Leal said. However, today is an act of laziness not doing what it should be done, he warned, at times when measures are taken to facilitate the marketing of products with higher quality and there are new forms of management. Times of gigantism are over, he said, in a call to reject the marginality, the vulgarity and boredom in the culinary arts of Cuba, and not to mix administrative matters with the quality of the culinary creations. His remembrance to atole , the machuquillo , rice pudding , among other authentic dishes of all time , served to encourage those working in the restaurant world to work with greater imagination and look desperately for the Cuban identity in each preparation . The fourth...

Loud and clear: green light to invest in Cuba!

A clear message Cuba sent on Tuesday to businessmen worldwide: foreign capital already has the green light to invest in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) , door of the island in its trade with the world in the coming years . This was confirmed by Rodrigo Malmierca , Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment ( MINCEX ) , and Ana Teresa Igarza , Director General of the Zone regulator Office in two-handed lecture during the third day of the XXXI International Trade Fair Havana, FIHAV 2013 . The colossal work, which spreads over more than 465 square kilometers in the western province of Artemisa, is already showing signs of vitality. According to the two officials, the office designed to process investment applications became operational in the framework of the fair; at the same time they announced the opening of the first 700 meters from the port of Mariel by the end of January 2014. The decree signed by President Raul Castro and published last October made clear the main objective of the megaproject: contributing to the development of the island, by generating exports, sources of employment, financing, technology transfer and logistics systems. Considered one of the most complex ever...

FIHAV 2013 Opens Aiming at Attracting Foreign Investment

Motivated perhaps by the call of the Cuban authorities towards greater openness to foreign investment in the island, more than a thousand 400 exhibitors from 65 nations participate from this Sunday in the XXXI International Trade Fair of Havana, FIHAV 2013 . With the largest participation of the last decade, the event hosts about three thousand visitors, exhibitors, official delegations, representatives of  world's commercial entities and diplomatic corps based in Havana , which confirms the growing interest of the international community to know what this small piece of land in the Caribbean has to offer. At the opening of the meeting, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment confirmed the will and decision of Cuba to "upgrade " its foreign investment policy by the important role of foreign capital in economic and industrial development . This policy will allow Cuba to have a portfolio of projects to facilitate the identification of "serious partners" interested in working together with Cuban companies for mutually beneficial business through investments that bring technological innovation and create jobs, the Minister said. An example the offensive Cuba deploys to attract foreign capital, is the Special Development Zone Mariel (ZEDM), whose "birth is a fact"...

Self-employment in Cuba: more string to the kite…

Self-employment is still fashionable in Cuba, a spillway to strip the state of burdensome responsibilities which had a negative impact for years in an inert and inflexible economy. And as shown by the most recent decision of the Ministry of Tourism (Tourism) , which not only continues thus paving the way for non-state management , but also promote the quality of the services provided in the field , and those who receive it, both national and international. Recently published by the Official Gazette of the Republic, the resolution 145 of 2013 established MINTUR payment in convertible pesos (CUC) to self-employed entities providing services to the agency on a specific group of activities. The easiness include the authorization to travel agencies to hire and pay in CUC tourist group accommodation in private homes whose owners are allowed to rent, as well as services in private restaurants (known in Cuba as paladares), where they will take organized groups of visitors. Also, agencies and other entities in the industry can arrange to visit from contracts with service providers on their own, in order to make horseback, cars, carts, antique cars, taxis riding and other forms that emerge and so are approved by the...

Wine Festival Begins in Cuba

Spurred by the growing national interest in consolidating luxury tourism, 17 producers and trading companies from today attend the International Wine Festival at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana. With the largest participation in the event's history, the fourteenth edition attracted winemaking specialists from several countries like Spain, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Norway and Italy, among others, who until Friday will enjoy an extensive program of activities . The Caribbean nation annually receives more than two million tourists from around the world; especially European used to a cuisine very linked to the wine world, hence the importance of a forum that focuses on promoting the presence and consumption of high-end beverages. Permanent host and organizer of the event, the flagship facility will welcome in its 1930 hall prestigious wineries, among these, Tobias, Joan Sarda, Heras Cordon Gomes SL and Segura Ibanez. Also present are recognized marketers of wines, as Euro-Cuba, Freixenet, Inversiones Pucara SA, ITM (Ibero Market Trust) Caribbean Euro Broker, Dionisio International Trade and Duprasa. With the traditional ribbon cutting, Jesus Fernandez, Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba officially open the 2013 edition, while affirming the support of his institution to the entities involved...

The famous Capri Hotel will reopen this winter

Cuba's tourism authorities announced today the reopening of the famous Capri Hotel in Havana scheduled for the upcoming winter season, after four years of being subjected to capital repairs. The reopening of the Gran Hotel Sevilla-the original name of the facility, is among the activities promoted by the Ministry of Tourism in order to increase its lodgment capacities to face the winter season, historically the most favorable of the year in terms of visitors. At a press conference with local and foreign media, Manuel Bisbé, commercial director of the Ministry, reported that in the period they also will open three Italian clubs operated by Alpitur and Eden Viaggi firms, at the poles of Varadero, and Santa Maria and Largo Keys, which will make a substantial difference from previous seasons. Seeking to revive the second engine of the Cuban economy, ailing in recent months due to a slight decrease (-1.3 percent) in visitor arrivals compared to 2012, more than three thousand rooms across the country are been refurbished for the coming high season. Outstanding in this respect arethe works undertaken in Villa Cojimar in Cayo Levisa and Villa Coral in Largo Key. Amid the prevailing complex international situation, Cuban tourism has...

United States Seconds Canada as Main Tourist Emitting Market to Cuba

Despite efforts made by some people to add fuel to the fire on the US-Cuba relations, the prevalence of emotional ties between the two peoples motivates today many Americans to travel south to the island, where once many distinguished figures of American society walked. And though silenced by mainstream media on both sides, the truth is that the United States now occupies the second place, after Canada, among the main countries of origin for tourists visiting Cuba, with nearly 630,000 visitors in the first half of 2013. Of these, the vast majority (521 314) were Cuban-Americans, while the remainder were Americans that benefited from the presidential directive known as "people-to-people exchanges", resumed in 2009 by the Obama administration. From that time, U.S. charter companies ensured that the business has not stopped growing since the government lifted restrictions on visits to Cuban-Americans, and eased travel obstacles for academics, religious groups, artists and professionals. According to the site Cubanet, as a daily average, about 1660 vacationers from the United States arrived in the island from January to July this year. In that time period there were also 1950 flights from different parts of the northern nation bound for Havana, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Holguin,...

Trinitarian Products venture into the Cuban market

Men of the night say that a good Mojito Criollo or Cuba Libre would be no part of the royalty in Cuban bars without a touch of bitter. And fortunately for those who prefer these cocktails, that herbal extract that come to the island soon. Bitters and rum from the Trinitarian brand Angostura will try to seduce lovers and professionals of the bar in Cuba after its possible entry into the Caribbean market through the Spanish company Freixenet. Jude Carasquero, representing the Trinidad and Tobago Trade Facilitation Office in Cuba (TIDCO), said they are in negotiations with this and other beverage marketers to start in coming months to import renowned prestigious rums as Legacy, considered one of the most expensive ones at international level (25,000 USD a bottle). Angostura, only company in the Caribbean with the Royal Warrant from the Queen of England for its aromatic bitters, has presence today in more than 160 markets and its vintage collection was named the world's most awarded range. In the diversity of trademarks under their given name are Angostura ® 1824, Angostura ® 1919, Angostura ® Single Barrel Reserve, White Oak, Forres Park Puncheon, Black Label, and Royal Oak. TIDCO spokesman also...

Tourism in Cuba: a possible way to luxury?

Cuba seems committed to rescue luxury, looking to enthrall the preference of international tourists and also the domestic ones. The current economic reforms undertaken by the country open space, little by little, to encourage an offer of non-essential goods and services, thereby stimulating consumption. Proof of this is the Marina Meliá Varadero resort, which began operations in recent days, with occupancy of 198 rooms and about 517 customers, all Cubans residing in the country. The facility, located on the stunning Hicacos peninsula in Matanzas, some 150 kilometers east of Havana, has among its main attractions an area for anchoring 1200 boats of medium and deep draft, where they will provide multiple benefits to global yachting. The Meliá Varadero Marina is a five-star facilty operating under the All-Inclusive modality and has 423 rooms, including 88 suites and 126 apartments in condominiums, facilities that invite you to enjoy longer stays on land and life aboard.  The resort, new adventure on Cuban soil of the Spanish chain Melia Hotels International along with Cuban Gaviota, is designed for lovers of sailing, diving and fishing, as well as hosting events, weddings and honeymoons. Among the variety of services available to the client, include The Level...

Marcopolo to conquer the streets of Havana

Marcopolo to conquer the streets of Havana

Mass transportation in Cuba, for many an incurable headache, could be relieved of its precarious situation, when a bus assembly plant the Brazilian consortium Marcopolo plans to build in the island becomes operational. At present, the Cuban government meets the needs of passenger transport with Chinese and Russian buses, but the remoteness of the producers is making Cuba to invest in domestic productions to avoid the recurrence of crisis in this sector.

Cuba: trade balance surplus close to 2.5 billion dollars in 2012

Cuba: trade balance surplus close to 2.5 billion dollars in 2012

Thanks to sustained growth in recent years in the export of services, Cuba's trade balance shows a surplus in 2012 of about 2.5 billion dollars, reported Oscar Perez Oliva, vice minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, to the Cuban parliament. Oliva Perez informed the parliamentary committee of economic affairs that through the end of October the health and tourism sectors bore the main burden of the external sector, covering for the decrease in exports of goods.

Canadian company to supply golf equipment in Cuba

Canadian company to supply golf equipment in Cuba

The Canadian firm Roma Caribbean Hotel & Restaurant Supply SA plans to provide equipment and technical assistance to the golf courses to be built in Cuba in the near future, said its president Pat Pontiero. Rome Caribbean will open a permanent office in Havana in January 2013 to meet the growing demand for its main products, which include securing equipment for bars, restaurants and hotels.

OnCuba Magazine Pays Homage to Havana on Anniversary

OnCuba Magazine Pays Homage to Havana on Anniversary

The presentation of the latest issue of U.S. magazine OnCuba today became another tribute to the 493 anniversary of the founding of the city of San Cristobal de La Habana. In the Carmen Mantilla gallery, located in Old Havana capital, Magda Resik, director of Radio Havana thanked the magazine staff for devoting this November issue to this city, to build a bridge with beautiful words for those in different parts of the world that admire it. 

New Gov’t Measure will Expand Private Sector in Cuba

New Gov’t Measure will Expand Private Sector in Cuba

In another attempt to reform the national economy, the Cuban government again expands the range of private sector, this time by leasing food and drink establishments to their own workers, who will join the private sector. The new management model of these premises will start on December first in three Cuban provinces: Artemisa, Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila, according to officials from several Cuban governmental entities.

Cuba and Citroën to Sign Strategic Alliance

Cuba and Citroën to Sign Strategic Alliance

French automaker Citroen dealer in Cuba Zepol Marin S.A. will sign a three-year long agreement with Cuban importer Transimport to give cars and auto parts worth some 21 million dollars in consignment to Cuba. “It is a three-year long contract and the amount allocated will be around seven million dollar worth of merchandise, depending on Cuban purchase power” Ania Perez, an executive of Zepol Marin, said in Expocuba, venue of the XXX Havana International Trade Fair, undergoing in Cuba.

Cuba Looks for Foreign Investment at Trade Fair

Cuba Looks for Foreign Investment at Trade Fair

This Sunday, the XXX Havana International Trade Fair was inaugurated in the EXPOCUBA fairground, some 25 kilometers outside Havana city, where Cuba tries to attract foreign investment to continue its “modest but steady” growing trend its economy shows. In the opening speech, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, stressed that “foreign capital will continue playing an important role in our present and future” to attract the latest technologies and to increase and diversify Cuba’s exports.

Brazil Raises Stakes at Cuban Port of Mariel

Brazil Raises Stakes at Cuban Port of Mariel

Brazilian company Agritech Lavrale S.A has joined the second largest bus and bus body maker in the world, Marcopolo, and the glass producer Fanavid SA, in their intentions of opening factories in Cuba. The Brazilians companies seem encouraged by the advantages Cuba is offering to foreign investment in the Special Development Zone in the Mariel Port, 50 kilometers west of Havana, added to a one billion dollar line of credit their government opened for that purpose.

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