HAVANA, Nov. 5th The 69th World Cocktail Championship kicked off this weekend in Cuba with bartenders from more than 60 countries, offering a boost to the recovery of the island’s tourism.“We are now back with this championship after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the most important event for bartenders worldwide,” said Giorgio Fadda, president of the International Bartenders Association (IBA).
Organized by the IBA, the event features seminars, bartending contests, workshops, and book launches at the seaside resort of Varadero, located some 150 km from the Cuban capital Havana.
Addressing the audience at the event, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said that local tourism continues to develop despite the U.S. economic sanctions against the island.
“The U.S. blockade is an economic, financial, and commercial suffocation,” he said, adding this event confirms Cuba is not isolated.
The championship is “good for more tourists to continue to visit this beautiful island and enjoy our environmentally friendly cocktails,” Cuban bartender Gabriel Lazo, 29, told Xinhua.
So far, over 1 million tourists have visited the Caribbean nation in 2022, according to the Cuban Ministry of Tourism.
About 1.7 million tourists are expected to arrive on the island this year, said Cuban Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil recently.
Cuba received more than 4 million tourists annually since 2016 before COVID-19 spread to the island in March 2020.
Running through Wednesday, the cocktail championship comes ahead of the start of the peak tourism season in Cuba, which runs from mid-November through April.