Goals and gains: Cuba Tourist Board


In this week’s edition of Take Five, we sit down with Lessner Gomez, Director of The Cuba Tourist Board, Toronto, to discuss the goals set for 2024, air capacity from Canada, and key events that travel agents should mark in their calendars.  

1.The Cuba Tourist Board set a goal to reach one million Canadian visitors in 2023. Did you reach it? And what goals have you set for 2024?

“We set the goal of one million Canadian visitors in 2023 and we knew it was an aggressive goal. Despite being a very challenging year, we came close with 936,436 arrivals from Canada. This represented a 176% growth year-over-year and Canadian count for 38% of the total arrivals in Cuba worldwide. The goal for 2024 is set at 1.2 million visitors from Canada.”


2. Can you tell us about air capacity in 2024? 

“The air capacity from Canada this current winter (until the end of April) has seen an increase of 11%, highlighting new destinations now available like Cienfuegos (served by Sunwing with direct weekly flights from Toronto and Montreal), Havana (with Transat flights from Montreal), as well as Cayo Largo. We hope to share some exciting news soon about new airlines coming to Cuba.”

“Cuba is committed to upgrading current hotel infrastructure and also to opening new accommodations that bring modernity and comfort to the forefront in order to meet the growing demands of discerning travellers.

“Besides the recently opened Melia Trinidad Peninsula in Trinidad, and Villa Gale in Cayo Paredon, travel advisors should keep an eye out for new developments in Cayo Paredon, Varadero & Havana. These new hotels will have an atmosphere of luxury and sophistication, enhanced room designs, improved dining options and upgraded technology.”

4. With the winter season coming to an end soon, how do you plan on boosting arrival numbers during the shoulder season?

“Despite the nature of the sun market being seasonal, we have been able to grow the summer business. We’re planning to run different marketing initiatives with our tour operators and hotel partners, promote wedding groups, festivals and events during the shoulder months, and keep carrying out our destination advertising campaign using diverse channels to reach both the trade and consumers.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Canadian travel advisor community to upcoming shows where we will have a booth and provide updates and promote Cuba. These shows include: The Outdoor & Adventure shows in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver; Travel Marketplace in Toronto and Vancouver; Travel & Vacation show in Ottawa; Granite Travel Trade Expo in Calgary; and more.”

5. What’s on the agenda for travel agents in 2024?

“The Cuba specialist’s program is in the works, two fam groups have been planned for the fall, and Cuba’s Appreciation events are also taking place this year.

Source: TravelWeek