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Cuba takes steps to spruce up tourism appeal

HAVANA, June 27 (Reuters) - Cuba has adopted a series of measures to improve the tourism industry's competitive position in the Caribbean and reverse a two-year slide in visitors, state-media reported on Wednesday.

"Today the ministry is working on new investments and repairing hotels of historic interest in the cities," Minister Manuel Marrero told parliament deputies on Tuesday, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported.

"Another main objective ... is to add new services and make our offer more competitive in general," he said.

Landing fees were recently reduced 20 percent at airports and jet fuel set at market prices to bring the communist-run island in line with other Caribbean destinations.

To reduce theft, local carrier Cubana Airlines is plastic wrapping all luggage, with the service optional for other airlines.

"Better late than never. We suggested the measures two years ago," one foreign tour operator said of the changes.

"But package and hotel rates remain 20 percent less in the Dominican Republic, and in Cancun they are similar but the service is far superior," he said. Like others interviewed, he asked not to be identified.

Tourism grew at a lofty 20 percent rate in the 1990s, becoming the country's most important foreign exchange earner as the government restructured the economy to cope with the demise of benefactor the Soviet Union.

But services and nickel exports brought in more revenues than tourism's $2.3 billion in 2006, and earn a much larger profit, Cuban economists report.

Visitors fell to 2.2 million last year from 2.3 million in 2005. It was the first drop since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States hurt the travel industry worldwide in 2002.

The number of tourists dropped 7 percent in January and 13 percent in February compared with the same period in 2006, the Tourism Ministry reported, before ending publication of monthly figures for the first time in years.

Minister Marrero blamed the "complicated international scene" for his sector's woes, Granma said, in particular "high oil prices, wars, terrorism and climate change."

Cuban and foreign hotel managers said U.S. travel restrictions and the embargo had also hurt, but they insisted the government could do far more to compensate.

"It still takes months to purchase a compressor for an air conditioner and there has been little money spent in recent years to maintain and improve service," one foreign hotel manager said.
 

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i would love to go to cuba but i'm afraid that once the embargo ends, american businesses are going to swoop in and turn it in to a cheesy corporate cancun clone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cuba says its tourism sector generated $2.7 billion in last year, up 13 percent from 2007
9 January 2009

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba saw record tourism in 2008 that generated more than $2.7 billion in revenue, a 13.5 percent increase over the previous year, the government reported.

Some 2.35 million foreigners visited the island last year, 9.3 percent more than in 2007, according to a National Office of Statistics report posted online this week. The visitor surge helped the industry earn about $326 million more than it did in 2007.

The report did not say how much profit the sector generated.

Cuban tourism has remained strong while visitors to other Caribbean destinations have dropped amid the world financial crisis. International travel operators say the island remains popular because many visitors can buy relatively cheap, all-inclusive packages and can budget trip costs well in advance. At the same time, the financial crunch has not yet hit hard in Canada, the top source of Cuba's visitors.

Washington's nearly 50-year-old trade embargo effectively bans U.S. tourists from Cuba. But Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany follow Canada as the top suppliers of tourists.

The banner year for tourism came after foreign visitor rates dipped in 2006 and 2007. The government offered no explanation for the decline, but the island has relatively low returning visitor rates. Some tourists complain of poor service, spotty infrastructure and lousy food, indicative of a communist system where shortages are common and state employees feel little motivation to excel at their jobs.

State media reported Monday that Cuba's nickel industry out-earned tourism in 2008, becoming the top source of government revenue for the second straight year. The government didn't say how much income the nickel industry generated.
 

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i would love to go to cuba but i'm afraid that once the embargo ends, american businesses are going to swoop in and turn it in to a cheesy corporate cancun clone.
the embargo created an interesting country!

it is one of the favourite destinations here in the cheesy Caribbeans. Dont feel atracted to the Caribbeans, but Cuba is something else!
 

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People don't have internet there (seriously), the few cuban forumers actually live in other countries.
 

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what a pity! I don't understand those people admire Fidel and his socialist dictatorship....I feel sad for the cuban people:eek:hno:
Not only that, but away from the tourist areas, the country is literally crumbling. Examining the good, high-resolution Google-earth air photos of La Habana is a REAL eye-opener - large sections of the city contain block after block after block with one or more crumbling and/or roofless buildings.

And the USA embargo is not the cause as Cuba freely trades with pretty much everyone else on the planet, in fact importing HUGE amounts of food and other items from the USA (only that the USA requires cash on delivery, not selling on credit). Simply trying to buy the materials and hire someone to help fix up one's own residence is considered to be 'counter-revolutionary' and internet access is strictly controlled and on a need-only basis.

Sad indeed.

:eek:hno:

Mike
 

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i would love to go to cuba but i'm afraid that once the embargo ends, american businesses are going to swoop in and turn it in to a cheesy corporate cancun clone.
Go there before it turns another place full of pale, fat and bad looking people, fat and tasteless food, visual pollution, bad music, and all those wonders that just the capitalism cam bring to you.

:lol::lol::lol:
 

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Go there before it turns another place full of pale, fat and bad looking people, fat and tasteless food, visual pollution, bad music, and all those wonders that just the capitalism cam bring to you.

:lol::lol::lol:
^^
If you hate the capitalism, then where do you live on? You are using a pc made in a "capitalist country",speaking the official language among capitalist nations,wearing capitalist clothes in fashion. I don't think you were a beggar or a barefoot franciscan monk. What kind of being are you?... an alien perhaps?:lol:
 

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^^
If you hate the capitalism, then where do you live on? You are using a pc made in a "capitalist country",speaking the official language among capitalist nations,wearing capitalist clothes in fashion. I don't think you were a beggar or a barefoot franciscan monk. What kind of being are you?... an alien perhaps?:lol:
Well, if you can't figure it, I was joking about the comment from jmancuso and the american businesses. Unless you don't know nothing about Cuba, the tourism business is already capitalist there. Most of the resorts and hotels there belongs to capitalist enterprises as Meliá, if you did not figured it yet.

The end of the embargo will not bring big changes in the tourism, except lots of american tourists and their crap food. Perhaps the only sector in the whole Cuba that will decrease the quality with the end of the embargo will be the hotels and resort services. Can you understand it or I will have to draw it?

And Chile is capitalist, but there's lots of slums there. And there's no one resort at same level of some cuban ones, right? Don't be agressive about the things you cannot understand, chicago-boy fan...
 

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Well, if you can't figure it, I was joking about the comment from jmancuso and the american businesses. Unless you don't know nothing about Cuba, the tourism business is already capitalist there. Most of the resorts and hotels there belongs to capitalist enterprises as Meliá, if you did not figured it yet.

The end of the embargo will not bring big changes in the tourism, except lots of american tourists and their crap food. Perhaps the only sector in the whole Cuba that will decrease the quality with the end of the embargo will be the hotels and resort services. Can you understand it or I will have to draw it?

And Chile is capitalist, but there's lots of slums there. And there's no one resort at same level of some cuban ones, right? Don't be agressive about the things you cannot understand, chicago-boy fan...
^^
We, the chileans know lot of things about your Cuba.Thousands of suffered cuban peoples have arrived to Chile to work and to know the freedom at last.Embargo exist in Cuba because of your pal Fidel and his constant and systematic violation of human rights, he's and his dirty dictatorship are the only ones guilty of poverty,hunger and mind control in the suffered people.Chile was once a poor country like Cuba today but now it's almost developed so we receive thousands of inmigrants such as argentinian, peruvian, ecuatorian...and cubans of course. Our resorts and hotels are amongst the best in all over the world. I feel sorry for your ignorance and envious remarks:bash:(god bless you:lol:)
 

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^^
We, the chileans know lot of things about your Cuba.Thousands of suffered cuban peoples have arrived to Chile to work and to know the freedom at last.Embargo exist in Cuba because of your pal Fidel and his constant and systematic violation of human rights, he's and his dirty dictatorship are the only ones guilty of poverty,hunger and mind control in the suffered people.Chile was once a poor country like Cuba today but now it's almost developed so we receive thousands of inmigrants such as argentinian, peruvian, ecuatorian...and cubans of course. Our resorts and hotels are amongst the best in all over the world. I feel sorry for your ignorance and envious remarks:bash:(god bless you:lol:)
Bla bla bla... Fidel is not my pal. Is pal of Augusto Pinochet, that corrupt dictador from... surprise! Chile!
The same who delivered Chile too broken as Cuba is nowadays. Being from a country full of slums and misery, you should respect the other ones, democracy or not. Why don't you talk about your Chille, the bird shit's seller?

PS:Hum... where's the moderators? This is about geography and travel and it's a shame such dumbass criticizing the country presented in the thread, being a democracy or not.
 

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^^ what the hell are you on about, Chile was always one of the richest latin American countries. Long before Pinochet and the Chicago-boys style capitalism.
 

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Papacu, are you a Cuban living in the US or Europe?
 

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I was in Cuba several years ago. Stayed at the Lido Hotel in La Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Yes, some parts of the city were crumbling and very shabby. But Havana does have a lot of historical charm and some areas were lovely.

Some observations:

1. When I was there it was a very sexy city, like Rio de Janeiro. Very easy to meet strangers, male or female, for romantic adventures ... just stroll the Malecon or the Prada.

2. I went to the Museum Of The Revolution (the former Presidential Palace) and they would only accept US$ dollars for admission (what is wrong with this picture?).

3. The food was very good at the more upscale places, like Hemingway's favorite place La Floridita ... but HONESTLY, the "Cuban Sandwiches" in Miami are better than what I found in Cuba!
 

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Cuba is charming about its culture, folklore, music, beaches, etc. Politicaly is a desaster no doubt, speaking on that topic is controversial. By the way, my country has been receiving thousands of cuban citizens these last years, it's a form of solidarity with the suffered cuban people. I had a workmate in a restaurant not long ago, he came from Havana ,but he could not come altogether his family cause dictatorship did forbid to him.
Here in Chile he could try the steak and lot of things that in Cuba are reserved only for high public staff or supporters of the system.:eek:hno:
 

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I would like to visit Cuba one day. I think it would be a great experience. However, I am sure I wouldn't like to live there. Who'd like, after all? The lifestyle is not so great.
 
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