Díaz-Canel receives ministers and officials celebrating the 69th Meeting of the Regional Commission for the Americas of UN Tourism in Cuba

Díaz-Canel receives ministers and officials celebrating the 69th Meeting of the Regional Commission for the Americas of UN Tourism in Cuba

HAVANA, Apr. 30th. The United Nations Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) is pushing the goals of the Cuban Government in the sector by choosing the Island as the venue for its 69th Meeting of the Regional Commission for the Americas and a seminar focused on tourism innovation. tourism in the communities, and grant them a hundred training scholarships.

According to the official Cubadebate portal, Miguel Díaz-Canel and Manuel Marrero Cruz received UN Tourism officials on Monday, as well as ministers and businessmen from the sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, an area in which Cuba remains behind in the recovery of the sector.

“We are here to tell everyone that you can come to Cuba; Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world that I have visited,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the organization, in line with the Government’s propaganda.

At the meeting, held at the Palace of the Revolution, the president thanked the leaders of UN Tourism for holding the meeting of the specialized organization on the island and also for the 100 scholarships offered for the development of training capacities in tourism, published the official Prensa Latina.

Díaz-Canel complained about the United States embargo, which he blames for the serious economic crisis suffered by Cubans, but which has not prevented more than 24 billion dollars from being allocated in the last 15 years to tourism and tourism investments.

The construction of hotels whose rooms remain practically empty, to the detriment of sectors in crisis such as the electrical energy system, health, education, and agriculture. The ruler also attributed the failure of foreign visitor plans in the last four years to “media intoxication.”

“Amid such a cruel blockade to which we are subjected and the media intoxication campaign to distort our reality, your being here means a lot to us,” Díaz-Canel told the officials.

Marrero Cruz joined in by highlighting the “great importance” for the Government “that it was decided to hold this event in Cuba amid the complex context” on the Island and asked to develop joint projects.

Gustavo Santos, regional director for the Americas of UN Tourism, an organization that is responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and accessible tourism, also had words of encouragement for Díaz-Canel, Marrero and the minister of the sector, Juan Carlos García Granda. “Our affection and our support always for Cuba, that we are part of this great team is a source of pride for us,” he said.

Carlos Andrés Peguero, Vice Minister of Tourism for International Cooperation of the Dominican Republic, an example of successful management of the tourism industry in the region, said that he supports the development of tourism in Cuba.

“We do not see ourselves as competitors, but rather we complement each other in the work and vision of greater economic development for Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

The truth is that, while 2,295,301 fewer tourists visited Cuba in 2023 than in 2019, the year before the pandemic, the Dominican Republic was visited in 2023 by 10,306,517 tourists, for a growth of 59.88%, which represented the arrival of 3,860,481 tourists more than in 2019, when they received 6,446,036 tourists.

The Dominican Republic grew in the second post-pandemic year (2023) by 1,830,001 tourists compared to the first year (2022).

As the economist Emilio Morales pointed out in a recent analysis published in DIARIO DE CUBA, the difference is made by the successful management they have had in the planning and execution of investments and business freedom.

In the Dominican Republic, there is no centralization of the Government, nor a state monopoly, and the private sector and entrepreneurship constitute the labor engine that guarantees the success of the industry.

In economic terms, the Cuban tourism industry, which is supposed to be the driving force of the Cuban economy, presents indicators that leave much to be desired. Per capita spending per tourist does not reach $500. Hotel occupancy barely reaches 15%.

Thousands of experienced workers who worked in the tourism industry have left the country. Currently, three out of every four hotel rooms remain empty on the Island.