FitCuba 2024: Will this Be the Year that Cuban Tourism Takes Off?

FitCuba 2024: Will this Be the Year that Cuban Tourism Takes Off?
Fecha de publicación: 
22 April 2024
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With some optimism, but without excessive expectations, we see the slight increase in international arrivals to the Cuban destination in the first quarter of the current year, according to preliminary figures in Internet.

The final statistics of that period, including the fourth month, which is now passing, will surely be known at the opening of the 42 FitCuba 2024 International Tourism Fair, scheduled for May 2-5 in Cayo Coco, at the Jardines del Rey, north of the central province of Ciego de Ávila. The agenda will be dedicated to Latin America and the Caribbean.

That location ranks as the fourth recreational development region in the country due to its hotel capacity (behind Havana, Varadero and Holguín).

With less than a month left until the start of the main commercial event of the local leisure industry, experts from the field shared data on the behavior of the arrival of travelers, which speak of an increase of 7.5%, for a flow of 808 678 visitors in January-March.

Canada remains the leading market, with 398,784, representing 49.3% of the total vacationers who chose this nation. They are followed by the 75,382 Cuban permanent residents abroad; while Russia doubled the figure reported in the same period of 2023, with 66,887.

The US (46,716) and Germany (22,097) continue in order, followed by other markets that show slight increases, including Mexico, Argentina, China, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Peru.

At the end of last February, the Granma newspaper published information on the annual balance and forecasts for the current year by the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur), an occasion in which the organization, in the voice of Juan Carlos García Granda confirmed that by December they aim to exceed three million visitors, reverse deficiencies, offer higher quality products and services, and encourage demand.

The Mintur has proposed, precisely, for 2024, to once again exceed the aforementioned level, and for this it’s undeniably required that direct flight connections grow. It has managed to establish them with 32 countries through 50 airlines, with an average of 579 weekly frequencies, according to data provided by García Granda.

"The projection for this year is to keep growing," said the source, who specified the closing statistics for 2023, with about 800,000 more visitors than in 2022, which constitutes 70% compliance with the outlined plan. Even so, he said he felt dissatisfied, since the goal was to reach previous levels of smoke-free activity.

In his presence at the Round Table television program, the Minister said that among the challenges that affected the rise of this branch were the effects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government; as well as the inclusion of Cuba on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, which has had serious repercussions on collection and payment flows, and on access to bank credit.


The commitments were made public in the presence of the main authorities of the Island, showing the importance of the sector, whose role as the engine of the domestic economy continues due to its attribute of pulling other spheres with its productive chains and for its recognized dynamism in financial capture.

The goals of the sector go through the current situation of war – everybody knows - that the country is suffering, with an increasingly tougher siege, facing media intoxication and soft blows aimed at denigrating the image of the nation, which stands out for its natural benefits, security, political stability, citizen tranquility, skilled employment, and the warmth of Cubans, host ideals par excellence.

Constantly, Washington's immovable anti-Cuban policy thwarts the country's strategies to address the lack of fuel and basic foodstuffs, among other resources. Precisely with such an environment, the island is called from 2022 to relaunch its leisure product for the world and do so with creativity and initiatives, in the face of competition from neighboring nations.

Its power to get back on its feet, despite the stages of crisis, makes the industry a lifeline that, despite not yet achieving the expected takeoff, continues to be the second contributor to the Gross Domestic Product and the third in monetary collections, only behind of professional services and remittances.

A sustainable site

Jardines del Rey can be reached by air, as it has an international airport of the same name on Cayo Coco itself, through its marinas and through the 17-kilometre-long stone path over the sea, with incomparable views, and which connects the north of Ciego de Avila with the south of the Pole.

It exhibits a vast hotel and non-hotel infrastructure (its housing potential amounts to 33 thousand rooms); at the same time, one of its essential challenges is the conservation of the environment of these islands, given their status as a biodiversity reserve, considered unique in the Caribbean.

Such will be the scope of the negotiating actions of the upcoming FitCuba 2024, in which this Caribbean destination will demonstrate its eagerness to face an accumulation of adversities and shortcomings; however, it will persevere in its social development project and will continue to relaunch the options of its tourism industry in these times of "maximum pressure", in the words of the President of the Republic himself, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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