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Sustainable Tourism Takeways from SAHIC Cuba


Tourism, hospitality and design professionals gathered in Havana for the first ever SAHIC Cuba conference focusing on how to best develop a sustainable tourism product for the island Nation. Resilient design also received much attention from hospitality industry and Cuban leaders during the industry’s first major investment conference focused on growth of Cuba’s tourism product. The SAHIC Cuba conference, held in Havana this week, brought government and hospitality leaders together to discuss the island’s potential and strategies for increased tourism demand. Key takeaways from the event included:

  • Tourism grew nearly 20% in 2016 to approximately 4 million visitors. It is expected to continue to grow in the upper 2 digits to potentially 12 million by 2025.

  • Cuban tourism is dominated by All Inclusives in 3*-4* segment.  Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism stressed the need for more 4 and 5 star hotels. The first luxury hotel, Kapinski in Havana will open Summer, 2017. Developing a sustainable tourism product is a central focus of the island.

  • The government has an ongoing renovation plan for the historic core; portions already renovated are excellent, and intensely touristy. The new focus on improving the building stock-up may open an enormous potential for the construction and real estate sector.

  • There is extensive interest from hospitality operators, investors and service companies to participate in this wave of tourism growth via a public/private partnership with Cuban companies.

  • The Government is interested in developing destinations beyond Havana and Varadero beach. They have established five priority zones for destination creation