Travel Trade Caribbean
WTM World Travel Market Edition. News.
Current International Tourism.
Tourism in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
Cuba at WTM 2013.
Cuba and the Caribbean:
Emerging Destinations for Luxury Tourism.
Travel Trade Caribbean - World Travel Market 2013. News
International Tourism Publication founded in 1996
Year XIII • No. 224 • November 2013
Europe Edition • isnn 1724-5370
Current International Tourism
“Tourism represents 9% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, one out of every 12 jobs, 1.2 billion
dollars’ worth of exports that mean 6% of inter-
national trade and, what’s most important, 8%
of the exports of the countries with emerging
economies,” Carlos Vogeler, regional director for
the Americas of the World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO), affirmed in his lecture Actualidad turística internacional (Current International Tourism). 2
Tourism in the
Caribbean and the
The Caribbean is the region that most depends
on the international travel and tourism industry.
On the islands, those activities contribute 14%
of the Gross Domestic Product, one out of every
eight jobs and a sixth of the income for the export
of goods and services. On a world level, six Caribbean countries classify among the 10 most dependent on this sector.
Cuba at WTM 2013
STAND CA 140
A large representation of Cuban entities
and their commercial partners will be present, as usual, at WTM 2013 at stand CA140.
Their main prospects are presenting the
new products of the Cuba Destination as
well as promoting the cultural, incentive and
quality of life programs; events, golf tournaments and scuba diving.
British Travel Less to the Caribbean
The Dominican Republic Has It All
Luis Emilio Rodríguez, president of the Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic
(ASONAHORES), heads the most powerful organization of the country’s private tourist sector –a federation that gathers all the regional hotel associations as well as the organizations representing airports,
ports, sports marinas, tourist real estate companies, restaurants, etc. For more than 50 years (since 1962),
ASONAHORES has been collaborating very actively with the Ministry of Tourism in the successful policies that makes the Dominican Republic (DR) the principal Caribbean destination.
Varadero Consolidates as
Cuba’s Principal Holiday
Cuba and the
for British Market in
TTC Travel Trade Caribbean srl
Via Balbo, 1 Chieri. Torino, Italia
Tel. +39 3938196638
Editorial Director Italy
Editorial Staff for Italy
An analysis of how the world tourist activity is
passing Germany and the United States –followed
developing marked the central idea of the lecture
by the United Kingdom, Russia (which is growing
by Carlos Vogeler, given in Varadero during FitCuba
enormously), France, Canada, Japan and Austra2013. When referring to 2012 he said: “it closed with
lia. Three countries in the region of the Americas
a 4% increase in arrivals –1.037 billion– as well as in
are among other important issuing markets: Brazil,
income –1.075 trillion dollars–, data that do not inMexico and Argentina.
clude domestic tourists or visitors who do not stay
UNWTO studies about tourism in 2030 indithe night in the destination.”
cate a notable potential for development. The
mature destinations as well as the emerging ones
The advanced economies attracted around
will need to adapt their conditions in relation to:
64% and the emerging one close to 36%, a relaNew business environment, Infrastructures, Travel
tion tending to reverse by 2015, and the emerging
facilitation, Marketing strategies and Human reones surpass the advanced in terms of the world
quota of the market.
The increase continues, though at a lower perThe sector’s recovery in the last three years, in
centage. The average increase for 2010-2030 will be
the midst of the economic crisis, “confirms that
from 43 million international arrivals a year to have
tourism has an enormous capacity to withstand
adverse situations,” he said.
1.8 billion in 2030, “which we would
The Americas attracted 163 milhave to multiply by five to add doTourism has
lion arrivals and US$ 213 billion in inmestic tourists.” As part of that prostopped being
come, 15.7% and 20% of the world
jection, the Caribbean, which will
the privilege of a
total, respectively, which is why “the
reach 30 million international visitors
few to become the
equation is favorable.” Arrivals inin 2030, will grow by 2%, below the
right of all.”
creased by 4% in line with the world
mean, and incomes 6.9%, three points higher than
Air transportation will continue extending its
the global average.
market quota but at a slower pace. According to
In the region, the Caribbean has grown only
the International Civil Aviation Organization, annu4.4% in terms of arrivals (21 million) and 2.5% in inal aircraft operations will increase from 30 million
come ($24.6 billion), an especially worrying situato 60 million in 2030.
tion, the regional director for the Americas of the
The key factors that determine the evolution of
the tourist industry are the world economy, techUNWTO noted. In contrast, the indicators for 2012
nology, demographic changes and consumption
show that the Caribbean is well positioned in the
patterns, and sustainable development; and the
hotel sector, above the mean for the Americas: a
three great challenges: air interconnection, the
66.5% occupancy rate, an average daily rate (ADR)
pressure of taxes on travel and travel facilitation.
of 176 US$ and a RevPar (Income per available
Vogeler concluded his master lecture with the
room) of 117 US$.
phrase “Tourism has stopped being the privilege
Among the principal world issuing markets Voof a few to become the right of all.” •
geler highlighted China’s climb to first place, sur-
Editorial Staff for Cuba
Editorial Staff for Dominican Republic
Marketing Dominican Republic
Graphic Design Italy
Graphic Design Cuba
Andro Liuben Pérez Diz
Jesus Jr. Rodríguez
Ana Cecilia Herrera
Ernesto L. Rodríguez
María E. Leyva
Silvia I. Alfonso
TTC Travel Trade Caribbean srl
Registered at the Milan Court, number 166, 13/03/2002.
Registered at the Chamber of Commerce: 08/01/2001.
Registered in ROC Italia.
Republic Has It All
Interview with Luis Emilio Rodríguez, President of the Dominican Hoteliers.
Rodríguez is also the most distinguished manager of La Romana-Bayahibe tourist destination,
where, among others, he heads the international
airport and cruise port –owned by the Central Romana Corporation group, the largest Dominican
sugar producer. He has presided over the Association of La Romana-Bayahibe Hotels for four years,
until his appointment a year ago to the current position of national president.
He is answering the questions put to him by
TTC in this edition dedicated to London’s WTM.
DR the first tourist destination in the Caribbean.
Which are the three pillars of its market leadership?
“The Dominican Republic Has It All.” This is not
just the slogan that the Ministry of Tourism uses in
its promotion campaigns but also a reality of our
country: from that history Santo Domingo has in its
Colonial Zone to the beaches of Punta Cana; from
the amazing show of the humpback whales in Samaná to the majesty of Puerto Plata seen from the
cable railway; from the adrenaline set free when
rafting in Jarabacoa to the interior peace given by a
beautiful sunset by the sea in Bayahibe. What other
destination in the Caribbean has such diversity?
The second pillar of our market leadership can
be individualized in the climate of safety and trust
that has always favored foreign investment in the
country. For more than 30 years the Dominican government has supported numerous foreign company expansion programs. Hotel chains, airlines, tour
operators, among others, have been attracted by
its climate of political and socioeconomic stability,
as well as by the high profitability of investments in
tourism. These capital flows have greatly benefited our nation, generating jobs, encouraging other
productive sectors and contributing for a general
dynamism that has turned tourism into the country’s principal economic driving force.
The third pillar – not less important – is the efficient work of promotion headed by our Ministry
of Tourism in the international markets. Dominican tourism’s marketing and promotion objectives were focused on Western Europe, the United States and Canada while they maintained their
economic hegemony. Today, the economic reality has been affected by the effects of the banking and real estate crisis and, while promotion in
those areas continues, it is also pointing to other
emerging markets: Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland,
etc.), Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, etc.); and the
promotion has even started in Asian markets like
China and Japan.
Luis Emilio Rodríguez, President of the Dominican
Our incomparable natural conditions and our
history, the trust the country has known how to
generate to attract and maintain foreign investment and promotion are the three fundamental pillars on which the DR’s market leadership is
based in the Caribbean.
Tourism’s role in the Dominican economy and
principal development trends: public and private investment, up to what point?
The periodic reports by the Dominican Central
Bank are clear: tourism is the driving force of the
country’s economy and the principal source for
generating hard currency.
With four million foreign visitors each year,
tourism has a major impact on the Dominican
economy. It generates direct and indirect jobs; let’s
just think of the large number of professionals and
workers involved in the construction and operation of a hotel. It is also an important source of direct and indirect taxes for the State.
Moreover, tourism creates a wide range of indirect businesses that benefit other productive
sectors, like hydrocarbons or agriculture (tourism’s
consumption of agricultural products in the DR exceeds the amount the country exports); as well as
mining and energy, which have in tourism one of
their most important sources of income.
If, lastly, we think of tourism encouraging a wide
range of complementary services – like ports and
airports, excursions, bars and restaurants, com-
mercial establishments and entertainment centers,
among others – we will have a complete vision of
the extraordinary contribution that industry represents for the Dominican economy.
This is why governments have boosted public
investment in tourism infrastructures. Today the
finishing touches are being given to an efficient
system of modern tourist highways that connect
all our destinations. The completion in a few days
of the Tourist Boulevard of the East, a series of thruways connecting Santo Domingo to La Romana
and Punta Cana, is of special importance. These
three destinations concentrate 85% of our foreign
tourists, who now have the possibility of going
from Punta Cana (on the country’s eastern tip) to
Santo Domingo in less than two hours.
The public and private sectors in the DR are
making an effort to work in a coordinated and
complementary way. The public sector sees to the
development of the connection and basic services infrastructures of the different tourist areas, as
well as maintaining a legislation that guarantees
the protection of tourist investments; without forgetting the very important mission of the State in
providing safety for all the tourists visiting us. The
private sector generates the investments and, together with the public sector, promotes the country’s different tourist destinations in the international markets.
European and British investment in Dominican
According to studies by our Central Bank, European investment represents a high percentage of
the total foreign tourist investment in the country,
which gives us an idea of the importance that Europe has represented for the development of Dominican tourism.
The major Spanish hotel groups (Occidental,
Barceló, Riu, Meliá, Iberostar, Catalonia, Bahía Príncipe, etc.) have been established in the country for
more than 30 years and all of them maintain, in different levels, their local operations. This is a clear
symptom that their operations have been and will
continue being profitable.
In the case of British investment in the country, it is worth to mention that its largest tour operators (FirstChoice, Thomson, etc.) and airlines
(British Airways, Thomson Airways, etc.) have been
and are still present in the Dominican market.
The same goes for the cruise sector. Thomson
Cruises has been operating in the DR for several
years, having successfully used the terminal of La
La Laguna Dominicus beach, Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.
Romana-Casa de Campo as a homeport for several
years. The British PO Cruises line has also been
visiting Isla Catalina for years with its winter cruises
program in the Caribbean.
Lastly, it can be mentioned that, after the merging of the FirstChoice group with TUI AG, the TUI
GROUP was created, the largest tour operator in
the world, which has in the DR the largest infrastructure of personnel and means in the entire Caribbean.
Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom and other European nations have gone up in the DR in 2013.
Which are the new offers for these markets?
British tourists have been registering a continuous and sustained growth for seven consecutive
months (this September they registered a 13% increase). Together with Germany and Russia, the
United Kingdom is currently the most dynamic
market in Europe.
In the first half of the 1990's British tourists were
concentrated on the northern coast, from Puerto
Plata to Río San Juan. After Punta Cana’s expansion, a great deal of this market went to that new
tourist zone because of the natural conditions of
its environment and because of finding alternative
destinations for the numerous repeater travelers.
With this reality, it would be very convenient to
improve the alternative offer of services in those
traditional destinations as well as seeking alternative destinations that can satisfy the demand of
the British tourists.
In that sense, La Romana-Bayahibe is a sure future bet. It has excellent connectivity due to its international airport, the cruise port, the Coral Thruway – which today connects La Romana to Punta
Cana in just 35 minutes – and the other line of thruways – which starting next November 20 will connect La Romana to Las Américas Airport in 45 minutes and to Santo Domingo in less than an hour.
Its more than 4,000 hotel beds and its alternative services infrastructure (Casa de Campo, with
Altos de Chavón, La Marina and their activities,
like horseback riding, kayaking, shooting, etc.; the
Cueva de Las Maravillas, the Saona and Catalina islands, among others) turns La Romana-Bayahibe
destination into an excellent alternative for the future growth in British tourism. Not forgetting that
La Romana has an offer of golf courses excellence
that could meet the demanding expectations of
UK, the homeland of golf. The DR, the golf mecca
in the Caribbean. What are the relations and the perspectives?
The DR has some 26 international level golf
courses that are concentrated in different tourist
zones (La Romana, Punta Cana, Juan Dollo, Puerto Plata, Río San Juan and Santo Domingo). Many
of them are located by the seaside and almost all
of them have been designed by internationally famous architects.
The promotion of our golf in the British market
is undoubtedly one of the “pending tasks” of the
Dominican tourist sector, which until now has focused mainly on different promotion campaigns
–like “Sun and Beach,” cultural tourism in the Colonial City, the first in the Americas, and lastly ecotourism and adventure tourism.
Golf tourism represents an extraordinary opportunity for Dominican tourism in all the markets,
especially in the U.S. and British ones. The United
Kingdom is the homeland of golf and in our country we have all the elements to be able to create
perfect products for the British market.
The Dominican Republic undoubtedly has the
best golf courses of the Caribbean area. The installations of Playa Dorada and Río San Juan, in the
north, the excellent golf courses of the zone of
Juan Dollo and the extraordinary installations of the
Rafting at Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.
Bávaro-Punta Cana area, in the south, are an offer
they won’t find in any other Caribbean destination.
The extraordinary offer for golfers in the area of
La Romana and concretely in the Casa de Campo
complex, with four golf courses designed by famous architect Pete Dye, among which the Teeth
of the Dog is ranked among the world’ best, deserves special mention.
A major challenge for our country could be the
creation of a golf multi-destination, since (in addition to the possible air connectivity) the new network of thruways that link Santo Domingo, Juan
Dollo, La Romana and Punta Cana today opens
the possibility of creating joint programs for golfers, offering the experience of getting to know
different tourist areas in the south of the country
through a tour of their excellent golf courses.
We are already the golf mecca of the Caribbean.
We have all the elements to continue growing and
attracting the attention of the British golf tourism.
Which tourist attraction in the DR can’t be missed?
We said that “the Dominican Republic has it all.”
That is why choosing a specific attraction is a difficult task. But there is a unique beauty that distinguishes us from all the other destinations. A rare
wealth of the entire nation that definitively makes
tourists fall in love with it: the people – their warm
and friendly personality, cordiality and joyfulness.
Moreover, more and more Dominicans are receiving professional training according to international standards and oriented at competitiveness
in all the tourist segments. Today the DR has excellent tourism professionals, who also stand out for
their open and affable character.
Undoubtedly, the friendly treatment each Dominican naturally gives to all foreigners and their
increasing professionalism make up the fourth pillar of our tourism. It is the trait that every tourist
always keeps in memory. •
Tourism in the Caribbean
and the United Kingdom
Dr. Miguel Alejandro Figueras
2007 National Economy Prize
Tourist arrivals in the Caribbean
and the income coming from them
maintained a high dynamics in past
decades. In the last two years it has
not been like this: in 1951 these island
nations received 700,000 tourists, a
figure that was doubled in 1969; in
1970, more than four million and, in
1990, it already amounted to almost
During those 40 years, the average growth rate of arrivals was 7.5%,
higher than the mean world growth
rate. The tourist flow to the Caribbean region grew 18 fold.
In recent years the speed of
growth considerably dropped. A
total of 17 million tourists were received in 2000 and in 2012 the figure
only rose to 21 million, for a modest
annual growth rate of 1.8% per year,
with serious consequences for the
30 million Caribbean inhabitants.
The Spanish-speaking islands
(mainly Cuba and the Dominican
Republic) have grown at a faster rate
than the others. If we add the destinations of the Mexican Caribbean
(Cancún and Riviera Maya), the socalled Spanish Caribbean receives
more than 50% of the tourists. Many
of the English- and French-speaking
islands and those linked to Holland
and the United States are at a standstill or falling back; cruise ships are
adding a new competition for stay
Half of the visitors the Caribbean receives come from the United
States; from Europe, a bit less than
a fourth; and 13-14% from Canada.
The Caribbean’s trips between the
islands themselves to visit family
members and friends and commercial activities make up the majority
of the rest.
Lately the European presence
has decreased in the Caribbean for
diverse reasons, among them:
▶▶ The emergence of closer destinations with similar climate and
beaches (Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt), whose offers usually
have lower prices than those of
the Caribbean. Spending by a
United Kingdom tourist in 2007
in Barbados was 1,686 pounds
sterling, in Jamaica, 647 and in
the Mexican Caribbean 780; in
Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco the
average was 420 pounds.
▶▶ A rapid development of tourism
from Western Europe to countries of Eastern Europe and the
new republics that previously
formed part of the Yugoslav federation.
▶▶ Doubling of the price of jet fuel in
the last seven years.
Part of the economic effects on
the tourist sector of some Caribbean
destinations comes from the United
Kingdom issuing market. At the start
of the 21st century it contributed
5-6% of the tourist arrivals to the Caribbean; currently it only contributes
3%. More than half of those islands
were British colonies; some are still
colonies or have a similar status, but
the majority has gained independence.
The United Kingdom has the
greatest number of low-budget airlines in Europe; it classifies as the
third European country prone to vacationing outside its borders. Internationally, in 2012 it ranked fourth
in terms of tourist spending abroad
among the 50 major issuing markets.
Mid last decade, 60 million tourists from this European country
traveled abroad and spent 60 billion dollars during their holidays.
It received 30 million visitors from
other countries and these tourists
spent 31 billion dollars. For each
dollar the UK received for tourist
activities, British tourists spent two
The world economic crisis has
led to a decrease in the United Kingdom’s GDP. In 2012 its GDP was 2%
less than 2007, at current prices. At
constant prices, the decrease has
been even greater. Industrial production stands at 90% of the level
achieved five years ago; the unemployment rate is 8%, almost double
what it was in 2006. The deficit in
its Current Account Balance has remained at -50 billion dollars each
year of the last triennium and the
Fiscal Deficit/GDP ratio is -7%, but
it reached -14% in 2009. The pound
sterling was devalued 20% as com-
pared to the dollar between 2007
Due to that crisis, British tourism to the region has been seriously affected. Between 2008 and 2012,
tourists from the United Kingdom to
Barbados, its third destination in the
region, decreased from 184,000 to
96,000 visitors. The small islands located in the Eastern Caribbean have
been greatly affected. In Saint Lucia
arrivals decreased 20% and its income for tourist services much more
In Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the first and second destination for British tourists and visitors,
according to their own statistics, the
reduction has represented a quarter
of a million persons. According to
statistics by the UK government, between 2008 and 2012 the issuing of
Travel Trade Caribbean • Year XIII • No. 224 • November 2013
tourists to the Caribbean decreased
by 200,000, that is, by 20%. While
global numbers do not coincide in
those different publications, the tendency observed is the same: a much
lower contribution of the United
Kingdom to tourist arrivals in the Caribbean islands.
The 2012 London Olympic Games
were a temporary factor that reduced the emission, since many decided to stay in their country to attend or see on TV that major sports
Together with the economic crisis came the consequences of the
increases in the Air Passenger Duty
(APD), which all passengers have to
pay when leaving British airports.
This tax was introduced in 1994, with
a rate of five pounds for UK and European Union destinations and 10
pounds for others, but since 1995 it
has undergone successive modifications and increases. A differentiating system of rates by bands was
included that, in the case of the Caribbean, has been denounced as unfair and arbitrary, since it is alleged
that it places the region in a disadvantageous position as compared to
According to a study by Price
Waterhouse consultancy, the UK’s
APD is the highest tax of this type
in the world, by a considerable margin. A family of four persons traveling from a British airport to the
United States must pay 407 dollars;
for the Caribbean the APD would
be almost 600. The opinion of the
Caribbean Tourism Organization is
that the APD takes away from the
area some 90,000 British tourists
per year. Several governments in
the region have requested the elimination of at least the discriminatory
nature of the tax.
The APD has affected the community of Caribbean immigrants
living in the United Kingdom, who
have played a useful role in the development of the British economy
and today see how their expenses
to travel to their countries of origin
have increased. Statistics specify
that this community’s demands cannot be ignored, because while the
United Kingdom is the largest issuing market for Barbados, it is also important for the Barbadians and other
people from the Caribbean who live
in the European country to visit their
relatives on the islands. •
British Travel Less
to the Caribbean
For centuries the beautiful English-speaking islands of the Caribbean Sea have been considered
as “very British,” not just by their common historians but also by the high affluence of tourists from
the United Kingdom.
British films, ever since the James Bond agent
007 series to the Benny Hill comedies, have never
left out images of the white sandy beaches, customs, pleasant landscapes, some of them paradisiacal, nor the boisterous music of the islanders.
However, something is happening. The bad
news is that for that part of the Caribbean that resolves a great many of its economic problems with
international tourism, a significant low in leisure
trips by citizens of the former British Empire has
been occurring in recent years, especially those
who were born on these Caribbean islands. According to figures published in London by the National Office of Statistics, a government entity, the
number of visits by those born in the Caribbean to
meet with “friends and family”, called “VFR travelers,” registered a 26.7% drop from 165,000 in 2011 to
only 121,000 in 2012.
As a consequence, the income these persons
contribute to the Caribbean decreased during the
same period by 28.8%, from 89 million pounds
sterling to 66 million. Jamaica, the Caribbean market that perhaps is most favored by those tourists, saw its income in that sense descend from 31
pounds sterling to only 22 pounds per day, comparing one year to the other.
Neither is there good news when the analysis
brings together all the categories of British who
usually spend their holidays in the Caribbean. The
amount of subsidies by Her Majesty decreased 12%
between 2011 and 2012, and in real figures, from
866,000 two years ago to 760,000 a year ago.
Thus the British went down on the list of good
tourism issuers to the Caribbean, below not just
U.S. travelers but also Canadians and Europeans in
general, according to the reports by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the East Caribbean
Central Bank and other sources.
According to an article on the Internet by British
specialist David Jessop, executive director of the
London-based Caribbean Council, the number of
UK citizens’ night stays in Caribbean countries registered a 4.7% drop and their spending went down
even more, by 8.3%, always in the same period of
In concrete figures, the profits fell from 699 million pounds sterling, because of these reasons, in
2011, to 641 million in 2012. The average spending
witnessed a daily drop of 1.9%, from 57.70 pounds
to 56.60 last year.
The general figures for tourism toward the Caribbean from all destinations indicate that in 2012
the region received close to 25 million tourists that
year, for a 5.4% increase as compared to 2011, according to a report by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
When announcing the figures, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, director of the entity, told the press that
the statistics are a reason “for optimism.” However,
she warned that some Caribbean states are showing difficulties in recovering from the effects of
the global crisis, “especially those that strongly depend on the British market.”
In such a context, she criticized the sadly wellknown Air Passenger Duty, a tax on flights to all
countries in the world applied by London and that
is especially affecting the Caribbean tourist industry.
According to experts, the unfortunate tax is to
blame. The reason for this is that average British
citizens always liked to exchange their rainy and
cold cities for the tropical islands with mean temperatures of 24 to 25 degrees centigrade at least
once a year, where, except during the hurricane
season, they have nothing to fear from nature.
The image of drinking ice-cold cocktails made
with fruit juice and liquor while resting on a long
chair in the middle of the white sand and facing a
blue sea that attracts, is still a powerful dream that
many in the European country want to make come
true every summer.
For example, Cuba has the largest amount of
reservations made by the British to vacation next
year in the Caribbean region, according to the online British travel agency Loveholidays, cited by the
magazine Caribbean News Digital. Jonny Marsh,
the specialized portal’s executive, said that that
Caribbean country has 70% of all the reservations
made to the region for 2014.
But the pocket factor, ever more worrying with
the Air Passenger Duty, continues being, more
than dissuasive, a nightmare. •
British Airways Expands
Services to the Caribbean
Air Europa Inaugurates New Madrid-La Romana, Dominican
The Spanish Air Europa airline (of the Globalia group) announced it will inaugurate a new route between Madrid and La Romana International Airport in
the Dominican Republic next December 16, which will remain until March 31,
2014. The flights will be once a week, every Monday, with an Airbus 330-200,
leaving Madrid at 4:00 p.m. and from La Romana at 10:00 p.m.
With these new routes Air Europa is consolidating itself as the principal
Spanish airline flying to the Dominican Republic, since it also has seven flights
per week to Punta Cana and 14 weekly flights to Santo Domingo.
LAN to Link Bogotá and
Starting December 1, 2013, LAN
will operate on the Bogotá-Aruba
route with two weekly frequencies,
Wednesday and Sunday, in nighttime schedules and using Airbus
A320 aircraft with capacity for 174
British Airways will increase the frequencies to Saint Lucia, Punta Cana,
Antigua and Kingston, expanding to
seven, three, six and four, respectively, the weekly links to those Caribbean destinations. With the addition
of an extra Boeing 777 to its fleet in
London’s Gatwick, the operation will
start next summer.
Sunrise Airways to Fly to
The new Haitian Sunrise Airways has
received Cuba’s permission to operate regular charter flights between
Port-au-Prince and the eastern city
of Holguín, a service that will start in
the autumn of 2013 and will involve
a second destination outside Haiti’s
New Costa Rica-El Salvador-New Jersey Flight
Avianca announced a new flight
from Costa Rica to Newark Liberty
International Airport in New Jersey,
the United States, through the El
Salvador connection center. It will
start operating on November 8, four
times a week: Monday, Wednesday,
Friday and Sunday.
Its Airport Network
Gran Jaguar Temple. Guatemala is
one of the Central American countries receiving the most travelers.
Panama has dedicated 200 million dollars to modernize and restructure its
airport infrastructure. The works are being carried out in at least a dozen runways and airfields in the country, according to the Civil Aeronautics Authority
The Enrique Malek, Colón and Río Hato airports –located close to important
tourist development projects– will be modernized with investments of 58.3,
27.4 and 17.3 million dollars, respectively. The three airports have been designed
for the landing of Boeing 757-200 aircraft with capacity for 228 passengers and
will be able to assimilate 500 passengers simultaneously, entering as well as
Moreover, 22 million dollars have been assigned for the construction of a
new Air Traffic Control Center in order to guarantee safe navigation.
The project, that also includes the Tocumen International Airport, which caters to around eight million passengers a year, seeks to improve connectivity
and give a boost to arrivals in the country.
Central America Predicts More
Than 6% Growth in Tourism
During 2013 Central America should receive 9.9 million international tourists,
6.1% more than in 2012, a study by the Secretariat of Tourist Integration of Central America (SITCA) predicted.
According to the forecasts, Costa Rica and Guatemala would be the countries receiving the most travelers, with more than two million each; the average
spending by visitor would reach 1,016.63 dollars as compared to 1,016.18 in 2012;
Panama would be the country generating the most hard currency, while Nicaragua would be the opposite.
During the period from 2000 to 2012, tourism in Central America grew
122.8% when it went from 4.23 to 9.39 million international tourists, with an average annual increase of 7%, according to data provided by SITCA.
The regional market has historically been its principal issuer, with 40% of the
total, while the North American market represented 35-40% and Europe and
South America 10% each.
Varadero Consolidates as Cuba’s
Principal Holiday Destination
Marina Gaviota Varadero, in Punta Hicacos. Once
“Varadero has a clear strategy that will make it
concluded, it will be one of the most complete and
boutique hotel and a commercial complex. The conpossible to consolidate it as the country’s princibest tourist ports in the Caribbean.
struction of the Aquatic Park will begin in 2014.
pal holiday destination,” Cuban Minister of Tourism
The principal investments being carried out inManuel Marrero said. A detailed study has been carried out to facilitate its reorclude the remodeling of the Marina Gaviota Varadero, in Punta Hicacos, which
ganization and development, and based on its results the installations that are
once concluded will be one of the most complete and best tourist ports in the
not compatible with the tourist development are being extracted, and there is
Caribbean. Varadero has another international marina, the Dársena, which will
even the possibility of the demolition of those that in their time were built on
also be renovated like the Chapelín nautical base.
the beach dunes.
Important construction works are being undertaken in the underground
With 50 hotels (around 40% of Cuba’s hotel plant), more than 3,000 rooms
electrical system to perfect the destination’s infrastructure, and the Sur Thruwill be added to their current 20,395 rooms with the investments, in different
way is about to be finished.
stages, of new hotels –Las Conchas, Cayo Buba, Internacional and Mediterrá
Since 2008, Varadero has been receiving more than a million foreign tourists
neo– and the expansion of the Paradisus Varadero.
a year, which represents 44% of the visitors to the country. Canadians are the
The diversification of the non-hotel offer is a short-term priority, to which projleaders in stays in the famous beach resort, around 45% of the total, followed
ects like that of Carbonera, 15 km from Varadero, contributes. It includes an 18-hole
by Cuban clients, and tourists from Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, France
golf course, a real estate project consisting of 750 apartments, 200 residences, a
and Argentina. •
Jamaica and Cuba, Among the Preference of Britons for 2014
Jamaica is the cheapest destination for travelers
with a tight budget.
A study for the British tourist mart carried out by
the online Loveholidays travel agency of the United Kingdom on the destinations displaying the
largest sales in the Caribbean revealed that Jamaica is the fastest growing destination, with a yearon-year increase of 50% in reservations.
The results show that the majority of the reservations for vacations in Jamaica are within the all-
inclusive modality. This destination also appears as
the cheapest for travelers with a tight budget, according to a recent report by the British Post Office.
Meanwhile, Cuba is the most popular destination for 2014, with 70% of all the sales for the Caribbean, according to Loveholidays.com. According to Jonny Marsh, an executive of the specialized
portal, until now this country was off the radar of
the area’s principal current. However, at present,
the all-inclusive offers in five-star hotels are able to
position it among the principal attractions of the
travel market in the European nation.
Marsh also highlighted that Cuba has 70% of
the total of reservations made for the region for
2014, and that it offers an excellent value for money for the British because of its quality products. •
Cuba and the Caribbean: Emerging
Destinations for Luxury Tourism
Dr. José Enrique Salgado
Professor of the University of Havana
and Marketing Director of Amadeus
The Caribbean has a potential
market of more than 200 million
persons and a Gross Domestic Product of over half a trillion dollars. If
the tourist companies adopt the adequate strategy to make known the
variety of attractions in these countries and are able to position them as
vanguard destinations, we could see
an important evolution that would
bring benefits and development to
Mainly due to its cultural wealth
and paradisiacal beaches, the Caribbean has an important tourist potential. In addition to the traditional
activities, we are presently seeing
an interesting opportunity that
could favor significantly the sector’s
growth: luxury tourism, boosted by
those seeking to live unique and exclusive experiences in exotic destinations. The region’s countries have
multiple exotic locations and can
obtain positive results if they take
advantage of the resources without
exploiting them excessively.
One of the focused countries is
Cuba, since it has rapidly positioned
itself as an emerging destination for
luxury tourism. Its attractions especially include its people’s hospitality and joie de vivre, always friendly
with tourists. And to complement
the experience, the country has
marvelous beaches, five-star hotels,
diverse options to enjoy art, culture
and partying, as well as being a very
As a greater number of potential
travelers are attracted, the tourist
companies need to have the tools to
help them offer their clients a wide
range of options. Expecting this, we
at Amadeus have developed through
the years diverse solutions for different actors of the tourist sector, like
travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, hotel chains, among others.
Amadeus is the technological
supplier of reference for the travel
industry with a world presence, in-
The cycle of Amadeus
suppliers is completed with the commercial agreement signed
with Havanatur S.A.
cluding the Caribbean. Amadeus
started betting especially on Cuba
more than 20 years ago and has supported diverse tourist companies
and been able to streamline their
processes and increase operations.
An example of this is its flagship
airline Cubana de Aviación which
since 1993 has been working with
Amadeus’ Global Distribution System (GDS) and other technological
solutions. Moreover, the majority
of the foreign airlines flying to and
from Cuba like Air France, AirEuropa,
Avianca-Taca, also distribute their
contents through Amadeus.
Multiple hotel chains operating
in Cuba also distribute the details
of the capacities in their hotels via
Amadeus, be it directly or through
agreements with reservation stations and online travel agencies. In
addition to the international Meliá
and Accor, the Cuban Gran Caribe,
Cubanacán and Islazul chains also
have had a direct relationship with
Amadeus since 2008, as well as
Habaguanex and Hotel Palco, which
distribute their contents through reservation stations and travel agencies.
The cycle of Amadeus suppliers is completed with a commercial agreement signed in 2011 with
the Havanatur S.A. International
Group of Tour Operators and Travel
Agencies. Ever since then, Amadeus
provides all the agencies and 56
Havanatur outlets in Cuba with
equipment and access to GDS. Thus,
all of Havanatur’s agents can have
access to the Amadeus Selling Platform (ASP), the application for outlets in travel agencies most used
throughout the world.
On the other hand, Cubatur has
15 outlets that started operating
with ASP. That tool contributes to
increasing the sales of travel professionals through a single point of access to all the tariffs and to the offer of a wider range of products. The
solution facilitates the work of the
agents thanks to its optimized business processes and personalized
services that allow them to easily
navigate through the available op-
tions and sell services that are additional to the basic tariff.
For Amadeus, the operation in
Cuba is very important. It currently
supports industry by providing solutions that enable the expansion
of tourism through tools for the distribution of its services on a world
level. We estimate that as a result of
the collaboration with Amadeus, the
Cuban travel agencies will achieve
an average of more than 3,000 reservations a month in the last three
months of 2013 through the GDS,
increasing by fourfold what was
achieved in 2012.
Our principal objective is to create and provide tools that contribute
to the growth of tourism through
the constant investment in research
and development. Amadeus’ investment in that sphere surpassed two
billion euros between 2004 and
2011. This year we will continue making efforts to keep being the leader
of technological solutions geared
at forging the future of travel on a
world level. •
Travel Trade Caribbean • Year XIII • No. 224 • November 2013
DATE 2014, the Dominican Tourist
Sector’s Most Important Fair
The Caribbean island’s delegation
is headed by the Ministry of Tourism
and the Office in Charge of Tourism
of the Cuban embassy in the United
Kingdom, in addition to comprising
the following Cuban entities: the Cubanacán, Gaviota Tourism groups
and the Gran Caribe and Islazul hotel
groups; the San Cristóbal, Cubatur
and Gaviota Tours travel agencies,
the Habaguanex company, Havanatur and Palco Group. The Meliá,
Occidental, Roc-Hotels, Barceló, Superclubs and Sandals international
hotel chains will be joining the delegation.
Cuba’s objectives with its participation include making new contacts
with important tour operators and
other tourism professionals, as well
as establishing marketing contract
The British market continues being one of the island’s principal issuers, ranking second despite the
reduction displayed. In the JanuaryAugust total, the latest official available figures –of the National Office
of Statistics and Information– at the
close of this edition, 102,097 British
visitors had arrived in Cuba (5.1%
of the total). Last year the island received 153,737 tourists from the United Kingdom. •
Cuba at WTM 2013
STAND CA 140
The 15th edition of the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE 2014), the
Dominican tourist sector’s most important fair, will take place March 26-28 at
the Convention Center of the Paradisus Palma Real, in Punta Cana.
Structured by pre-arranged dates, for two days international buyers will
meet with the country’s principal suppliers. This edition is of special interest for
tour operators and meeting organizers seeking exciting product alternatives in
the country and in the Caribbean sphere.
Created to provide a professional atmosphere of business exchanges between tour operators, travel agents and suppliers of the tourist product, since
its debut in 2000 DATE –organized by the Association of Hotels and Tourism
(ASONAHORES) of the Dominican Republic in association with the Ministry of
Tourism– has been able to establish itself as an official event of the sector.
The Paradisus Palma Real’s Convention Center should open in December
2013. It comprises an area of 18,000 m2 of multifunctional and flexible space,
with ceilings that are up to 29-feet high. •
Gaviota on the Year
of its 25th Anniversary
After 25 years of operations, the Gaviota Tourism
Group has “more than 50 hotels in exploitation,
with almost 22,000 rooms [around 30% of Cuba’s
accommodation capacities]; a large team made up
by 19,000 workers and an organization that works
like clockwork to guarantee a complete tourist operation,” its promotion director, Lisbet Betancourt,
affirmed in a recent presentation used as the foundation for this feature article.
An active investment projection and the expansion of high-standard hotel products and associated services have placed the Group at an annual
growth rate of more than 12% in accommodation
capacity and tourists seen to.
The Group concentrates its hotel offer from
one tip of the island to the other, in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Havana, Varadero, Topes de
Collantes, the Villa Clara keys, Cayo Coco and Cayo
Guillermo (Ciego de Avila), the northern coast of
Holguín and Pinares de Mayarí, in that same province; Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa.
Prestigious international chains like Meliá,
Iberostar, Blau, H10, Riu, Blue Diamond, Hotusa,
Pestana, among others, participate in the management of its hotels, the Group’s backbone, managing a bit over 80% of the capacities.
The Group’s integral offer is enhanced by the
Transgaviota transportation services and the
Gaviota Tours travel agency, with representations
in the country’s principal international airports
and tourist destinations like Havana, Varadero, Villa
Clara’s keys, Cayo Coco, Holguín and Baracoa.
Hotel Playa Cayo Santa
María. Villa Clara is one
of the scenarios with the
Gaviota’s marinas, located in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Varadero, the Villa Clara keys,
Cayo Coco and Holguín, are equipped with vessels
for the modalities of game fishing, scuba diving
and life on board. Part of the nautical offer is centered in the aquariums-dolphinariums of Varadero,
the Villa Clara keys and Holguín. Especially standing out among them is the Marina Gaviota Varadero, “set to become one of the most pleasant and
complete tourist ports of all the Caribbean in just a
few months’ time.”
Some of Gaviota’s immediate novelties and
plans that deserve special mention are the ex-
pansion of capacities in the María La Gorda International Scuba Diving Center; three new hotels in
Varadero, one of them in Cayo Buba, which will be
connected to terra firma by a causeway that will
lengthen the Hicacos Peninsula; and three highstandard accommodations in the Historic Center
One of the scenarios with the greatest growth
for the Group spreads from Villa Clara to Camagüey: more than 45,000 new rooms with complementary installations like golf courses and marinas. Meanwhile, there are plans for close to 8,000
new rooms between Holguín and Baracoa. •
Prestigious international chains participate in the
management of its hotels.
Direct Flights from Russia to Varadero
The Pegas Turistik tour operator, which will work
during the next Cuban peak winter season with
vacationers from Russia, has inaugurated a direct
flight to Varadero, the country’s principal beach resort.
With a bimonthly frequency and having started on October 25, that European company will use
Boeing 777s seating 364 passengers of the Orenair
airline, the Cubanacán travel agency reported.
Considered one of the principal tourist offers of the region of Sancti Spíritus, Islazul Hotel Group’s Villa San José del Lago represents a
stimulating and refreshing rest under the cover
of Caribbean nature.
Located in the town of Mayajigua, Yaguajay municipality, San José del Lago is favored
by its mineral-medicinal thermal waters that
have proven curative properties and make it
possible to offer treatments to visitors suffering from chronic osteomyarticulary, dermatological and nervous system diseases – with or
without systemic repercussion -, especially effective in cases of psoriasis. The area’s natural
resources are an indispensable component in
San José del
offer of exquisite Cuban and international cuisine dishes, a thermal pool and treatments with
Several tours of historic or landscape interest can be made from the Villa to the Caguanes
National Park –especially its Department of Archaeology–, the Jobo Rosado Protected Area or
the Camilo Cienfuegos National Museum, just
to cite some example.
The Villa’s 74 rooms have AC, private bathroom,
hot and cold water, telephone and satellite TV, as
well as the personalized and specialized services
provided by competent Cuban professionals, the
Ave. Antonio Guiteras km 1 ½, Mayajigua,
Yaguajay, Sancti Spíritus
Tel.: (53-41) 54 6108
Growth Predicted for British Market in Mexican Caribbean
Everything points to the Riviera
Maya registering an increase of visitors in its different tourist destinations and accommodations due
to the arrival of European tourism,
mainly from the United Kingdom
(in addition to Russia), according to
Darío Flota, director of the Tourist
The United Kingdom is currently
the most important European market for Mexico. Between 2010 and
2011 British tourist arrivals grew by
44.2%, while between 2011 and 2012
the increase was 15.1%. These tourists’ favorite destinations include
Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
In 2012, around 42,000 British visitors arrived in the Mexican Caribbean. Those tourists traveled for an
average of 15 days and had an esti-
mated spending of 2,700 euros per
The Riviera Maya Tourist Barometer for July 2013 reported that out of
the total of arrivals to that destination since January, 162,653 were from
the United Kingdom, equivalent to
6.42% of the total.
In congruence with the increase
the British market has had in tourist
matters, being one of the markets
registering the greatest growth in the
last two years, a diplomatic meeting
was held between the consular authorities of the United Kingdom and
executives from Quintana Roo, as
part of actions to strengthen trade
relations between issuer and receiver. Some of the issues dealt with included Quintana Roo’s logistics for
tourists in case of hurricanes, safety,
tourist promotion and investments. •